The answer on a question such as this has to be completely subjective.
Each of us have their own concept of who is the greatest genius of
them all, and the answer is not - and cannot - be definite.
A genius, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is someone
who posseses "Extraordinary intellectual and creative power; A person
of extraordinary intellect and talent; A person who has an
exceptionally high intelligence quotient, typically above 140; A
strong natural talent, aptitude, or inclination: has a genius for
choosing the right words" (Source: American Heritage Dictionary,
If we take the first definition, this person must be a Renaissance
Man, in the aspect, that he has "Extraordinary intellectual and
creative power". Leonardo da Vinci, mentioned by my collegue Pink
Freud (who is, in my humble opinion, a genius), is one of the only
people known to us today as capable of scientific as well as artistic
thought, and as having "Extraordinary intellectual and creative
It is worth mentioning, though, that we have only partial knowledge of
all the wonderful human beings of the past, and there might be other
people who also deserve that respect: how about the first homo sapiens
who found how to create and preserve fire? Or how to make things move
using a wheel? These people changed the fate of humanity forever, yet
we have no idea who they might be. This is even more relevant
regarding the third definition - IQ tests are something done only in
the past few years and are known to be culturally biased. Even if you
know who's the person who reached the best score in those tests, it
still doesn't mean that he is "The World's Greatest Genius".
On the other hand, since today we don't see many people who don't
specialise in a particular field, it is hard to describe a man of our
age in those terms. Maybe Google Answers Researchers, since they have
to demonstrate knowledge, "Extraordinary intellectual and creative
power" in many fields to get the job ;-)
Searching the Internet for "The World Greatest Genius", I found these
- "I am the world's greatest genius!"
- Albert Einstein is the WGG (see
- TL Winslow is the WGG
- Justin Chapman: "Aged seven, Justin was allegedly measured with an
IQ of 298, believed to be the highest ever awarded" (Source is this
not very happy story in the Daily Telegraph: Charles Laurence, "Mother
of 'boy genius' is accused of exploiting him"
- Francis Bacon
- Thomas Jefferson (according to JFK:
To sum up, and since it is totally subjective, I'd point to Da Vinci,
but mostly because the real geniuses are anonymous: those who found
how to get us cloth, fire, the wheel, and clean water. Without them,
we'd be still elaborated monkeys...
I hope this answered your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarifications on this answer before you rate it.