Is there an average IQ and GPA for most scientists? I've wanted to be a paleontologist for most of my life, and wanted to know if I qualify. I have a GPA of about 3.8 (keeping in mind that I have Honors English, Math, and Science), and an IQ of around 135 - 140. Just wondered.

Hi Carrie, those are good scores, and you certainly need to have your wits about you to be a scientist. I don't think that "qualify" is really a good term. I have never had to supply my IQ for any part of university education, or at any job since. To be a professional scientist you need a graduate degree at least, generally a PhD if you want to work as an academic. The only thing your GPA is really good for is university entrance to get those degrees, which is where the real work begins!

In my experience less attention is paid to IQ scores than to demonstrating hard work, dedication to excellence and perhaps above all the ability to turn research into peer reviewed publications.

Good luck, I'm sure you will be an excellent Paleontologist!

I'd go further and say that IQ tests/scores are a good measure of people's ability to take the tests! By that i mean that cultural and societal factors greatly affect performance. Thus I would say they bear little relevance to performance as scientist.

Well, David, I wonder how true that is? We all accept that IQ is a profoundly imperfect score -- just as BMI a flawed measure of obesity. But we would nevertheless not be slow to say that someone with a BMI of 35 is not going to make it as a tennis player; is it really so unreasonable to also say that someone with an IQ of 90 is unlikely to find a career in science?

So my message to Carrie is a bit different: you can justly be pleased about your IQ; but having now got from it a helpful indication, the best thing you can do going forward is to forget about it -- certainly don't invest time and effort into improving it. The place to put your effort is in developing effective study habits, learning relevent information, and forming good mental habits -- especially concentration and determination.