I was reading the Parade magazine that comes with our Sunday paper a few weeks back when Robin happened to see that the page was turned to the “Ask Marilyn” column, in which the author solves puzzles and answers various questions. “Did you know she’s supposedly the smartest person in the world?” Robin said.
“What?” I asked.
“Yeah,” said Robin. “Look it up.”
So I did. And sure enough, the “Ask Marilyn” gal was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under “Highest IQ” from 1985 to 1989, having scored a whopping 228 on the IQ test at age ten, and then a score of 186 in her early forties. (Guinness retired the “Highest IQ” category in 1990 after concluding IQ tests were too unreliable to designate a single record holder. The tests themselves—which seem to be largely focused on pattern-recognition abilities—are of dubious reliability, but anything above 160 is considered to be extremely high.)
The fact that the “Ask Marilyn” columnist is so darn intelligent is made all the more humorous by the fact that her full name is Marilyn vos Savant (née Marilyn Mach, she’s descended from the physicist and philosopher, Ernst Mach). Savant, indeed….
Curious, I read more about his very smart woman. Those of you of a certain age will remember back in the early 1990s when “the Monty Hall problem” was all the rage in newspaper and magazine articles.
(For those who don’t want to follow the link I provide above, this “problem” essentially articulates as follows: If you’re given the choice between three doors, one of which contains a prize, and after picking door #1 [but not knowing whether or not it was the correct guess], the person in charge [i.e., Monty Hall from the Let’s Make a Deal TV program] shows that door #3 contains a dud and then asks whether you want to now change your choice from #1 to #2, the odds say you should indeed switch to door #2.)
Well, lo and behold, it was Marilyn vos Savant who, in her “Ask Marilyn” column, popularized this Monty Hall problem back in 1990 (though she didn’t invent or solve it).
So my question is, am I the only person who didn’t know all of this about the “Ask Marilyn” gal? But I do have to say, I now read her weekly column with far more interest than before.