3 Rick Rosner

Rick Rosner

Rick G. Rosner (born May 2 1960) is an American TV writer who received some of the highest scores ever recorded on tests designed to measure exceptional intelligence (Morris 1986, Prager 1997) and became known for applying his high IQ to activities not usually associated with genius. Rosner used fake IDs to repeatedly return to high school, worked as a stripper, roller-skating waiter, bouncer, and nude model (Morris 1986, Anderson & Van Atta 1988, Chotzinoff 1985, Rosner 1991, Moore & Markoe 1994, Rivera 1989) and sued the quiz show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" over an allegedly flawed question (Bronstad 2004, Jennings 2006).


Rosner was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to Boulder, Colorado when his mother remarried. Nerdy and socially awkward, he began lifting weights in high school in an unsuccessful strategy to attract a girlfriend. Nearing graduation, Rosner decided to forgo college and move in with his father’s and stepmother’s family in Albuquerque while he returned to high school to try to lose his virginity. Rosner broke into Boulder High School and stole blank transcript forms, which he used to create a false academic record that enabled him to enroll as a fake transfer student at Albuquerque’s Highland High School. After several months, at odds with his father’s family and with his virginity still intact, Rosner dropped out of Highland High and returned to Boulder, where he became a mediocre student at the University of Colorado (Morris 2000, Rosner 1991, Krier 1992).

Still hoping to meet girls, Rosner became a bar bouncer, stripper, and nude model. He also began work on a theory of the cosmos which attempted to draw useful parallels between the structure of the universe and an efficient, self-consistent mapping of the information in an individual consciousness (Morris 2000, Berliner 1992).

At 26, Rosner once again became a 12th grader, claiming that he wanted to use high school as a quiet place to think about his theory of the universe. Using the name Gilligan Rosner, he attended summer school at Del Norte High School and spent the fall semester at Eldorado High School, both in Albuquerque, before transferring to New York City, where he graduated from H.S. 435, Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, at age 27. His future wife masqueraded as his cousin and legal guardian while Rosner attended MCSM (Morris 2000, Rosner 1991).

After graduation, Rosner worked as a fact-checker and writer for MTV’s first game show, "Remote Control" -- the first of many game shows with which he would become involved as a writer, producer, creator, or contestant (Paquet 2004). In 2000, Rosner reached the Hot Seat on ABC’s prime time quiz show, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". He was eliminated at the $16,000 level by the question, “What capital city is located at the highest altitude above sea level?” (Kolbert 2000) Rosner claimed that because of faulty research, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" failed to include the correct answer—-La Paz, Bolivia—-among the four answer choices (Chotzinoff 2000, Rosner 2001). In 2001, Rosner sued "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" for up to one million dollars in damages (Fonseca 2001, Byrd 2001, Costas 2001, Li 2001, Stouffer & Vercammen 2001). His lawsuit was thrown out on summary judgment, and he lost the subsequent appeal (Bronstad 2004, Jennings 2006).

Rosner lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles, where he has been a writer for ABC’s late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! since its premiere (Gay 2002, imdb.com). Rosner claims to suffer from mild OCD which causes him to prefer turning right to turning left (Rosner 1991).


According to tests designed to measure unusually high intelligence, Rosner has one of the world’s highest IQs. In 1985, he scored 44 out of 48 on Ron Hoeflin’s Mega Test, tying him for the second-highest score among nearly 4,000 people who took the test when it appeared in Omni magazine as “The World’s Most Difficult IQ Test.” (Morris 1986, Hoeflin 1989) In 1990, Rosner received the only perfect score ever recorded on Hoeflin’s equally difficult Titan Test (Morris 1990, Prager 1997, Miyaguchi) and, in 1991, scored 47 in a second attempt at the Mega Test. His combined scores indicate an adult (deviation) IQ in the mid- to high-190s (Hoeflin 1989, 1997 & 1998; Towers 1991, 1998 & 1999; Vaughn et al, 1999), which corresponds to a ratio IQ of approximately 250 (Scoville 1999). From 1991 to 1997, Rosner was editor of Noesis, the journal of the Mega Society, an organization open to people who have scored at the one-in-a-million level on tests of general intelligence.

tunts & Negative Reactions

Rosner has admitted, “I like to do something obnoxious every few months—to make people nervous” (Zaslow 1990). He cavorted as a giant penis on "The Man Show" (episode 420), posed naked for "Crank Yankers" (episode 2.17), and, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, accepted a bet to go without sex for a month (2003), danced naked (2007), and ate a bowl of pencil erasers while trussed up like Hannibal Lecter (2004). He hired a plane to tow a banner displaying a gravitational equation over Boulder and Denver (Jones 1986, Gibson 1986) and placed physics ads in the showbiz newspaper Variety (2007).

Reactions to Rosner have included pity and scorn: “Rick is an example of how society fails children who are geniuses.…it's sad that instead of becoming a great scientist or business leader he winds up being nothing but a bouncer” (Kantor 2007) “…the worst of what many people believe they'll find in the high IQ societies” (Bultas 2005) “If he’s so smart, what the hell is he doing being a bouncer, a stripper, a roller skating waiter and a model? I presume Mr. Rosner earned his reputation by getting a high score on an IQ test. If so, he is a perfect example of how meaningless those tests can be” (Smith 1986).


*. Longer version published as cite news|title=Bush's New Chief Of Staff May Be Too Smart For Job|publisher=The Oregonian|location=Portland, Oregon|date=1988-11-28, and cite news|title=Sununu’s book smarts make him one in a million| [publisher=Rocky Mountain News|date=1988-11-29. From the article: “Tied with Sununu were…Solomon Golomb…and Rick Rosner, a University of Colorado physics student who made his living as a roller skating waiter and a stripper. Rosner’s method of undressing was to set his clothes on fire.”
*cite news|author=Berliner, Uli|title=Mega smart is very, VERY smart, indeed|publisher=San Diego Union-Tribune|date=1992-12-28
* Bultas, Bill. "High IQ Societies: News & Articles: Interviews with Rick Rosner and Chris Langan on Errol Morris’ ‘First Person’", puzz.com. Retrieved on 2007-12-27. http://www.puzz.com/highiqsocieties.html
* Includes photos of Rosner stripping with paper suit on fire.
*. Transcript available at Lexis-Nexis (subscription required).
* "Crank Yankers". "Helen Higgins has her Film Developed," Crank Yankers, episode 2.17, October 28, 2003. In this episode, photos are shown of a puppet's head on Rosner's body.
*cite news|author= Gay, Jason|title=Kimmel Hires Jilted Contestant|publisher=New York Observer|date=December 15 2002|url=http://www.observer.com/node/46857|accessdate=2007-12-23
* Gibson, Daryl. "'Genius' launches trial flight of scientific theory," Boulder Daily Camera, April 5, 1986.
* Hoeflin, Ronald K. 'The Sixth Norming of the Mega Test', May, 1989. Hoeflin estimates that a 44 on the Mega Test corresponds to an IQ of 180, and a 47 on the Mega corresponds to an IQ of 190. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
* Hoeflin, Ronald K.; Miyguchi, Darryl “Titan Test norming”, 1997. Hoeflin estimates that a perfect score on the Titan Test corresponds to an IQ of more than 190. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
* Jennings, Ken. "Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs", New York: Villard, pp. 110-111. ISBN 1-400006445-7
* Jimmy Kimmel Live! "Rick Week", 2003; "Will Rick Eat It?", episode 255, March 10, 2004 (In episode 264, March 23, 2004, Rosner ate a dirty hot dog.); "So You Think You Can Dance Naked on top of a Fifth Grader, Asshole?" (Fox promo parody), episode 917, September 6, 2007.
* Jones, Tao. "Worse than you suspected: Boy wonder takes to skies with theory of the Bland Universe", "Colorado Daily", April 4, 1986.
* Kantor, Michael. “The Rick Rosner Story”, "Half Sigma". February 5, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.http://www.halfsigma.com/2007/02/the_rick_rosner.html
*. cite news|title=ABC Says Wrong Is Right on Quiz Show|publisher=New York Post|date=November 28 2001
* "The Man Show". "Mr. Penis's Day Out." "The Man Show", episode 420, April 20, 2003.
*. From the article: “The Titan Test is a more difficult twin to the Mega Test.”
* Morris, Errol, “One in a Million Trillion,” First Person (2000)
* Morris, Scot; Ronald K. Hoeflin. 'Mind Games: the hardest IQ test you'll ever love suffering through,” Omni magazine, April 1990, pp. 90 ff.
* Morris, Scot. 'World's Most Difficult IQ Test', Omni magazine, April 1985, pp. 128-132.
* Paquet, Paul. “Interview: Rick Rosner, quiz show writer”, March 2004. http://www.triviahalloffame.com/rosner.htm. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
* Prager, Joshua Harris 'Let's See Now, Complain Is to Club As Order Takeout Is to Restaurant,' The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, May 14, 1997
* Rivera, Geraldo. “People with an X-Rated Past”, Geraldo (syndicated talk show), December, 1989.
* Rosner, Rick. Advertisements, "Daily Variety": "Gravitation is relativistically attenuated", January 22, 1986, p. 10; "Mach's Principle applies to gravitation", January 26, 1986, p. 30; "In a universe containing only two objects, the objects wouldn't be gravitationally attracted to each other", February 2, 2007.
* Rosner, Rick. “Ex-Contestant Wants to Question the Answers”, Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2001.
* Rosner, Rick. “When Good IQs Happen to Bad People”, Noesis 57, January 1991 http://www.megasociety.org/noesis/57.htm. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
* Scoville, John. 'Statistical Distribution of Childhood IQ Scores'. http://hiqnews.megafoundation.org/John_Scoville_Paper.htm. Retrieved on 2008-01-03.
* Smith, L.L. "Letter to the Editor," Colorado Daily, April 10, 1986.
* Stouffer, Linda; Vercammen, Paul. “Who Wants to Sue a Millionaire?” CNN Live at Daybreak, CNN, July 12, 2001. Transcript available at Lexis-Nexis (subscription required).
* Towers, Grady “Five Letters from Grady Towers”, 1998. http://megasociety.net/noesis/141/towers.html. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
* Towers, Grady. “Norming of the Mega Test”, 1991. Towers’ Rasch analysis of Mega test items led him to conclude that a Mega score of 44 corresponds to an IQ of 192, and a score of 47 corresponds to a score of 200. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
* Towers, Grady. “Some Observations on the Titan Test”, 1999. Towers notes that small sample sizes, ceiling-bumping effects, and the lack of high-level conventional tests make it difficult to establish exact norms for the top end of the Titan Test. Towers includes a table equating a perfect Titan score with a Mega score of 46 (corresponding to an IQ of 198). Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
* Vaughn, Fred et al. '1998/99 Membership Committee Report', The Prometheus Society Membership Committee (1999). A committee of ten people including four psychologists found that the Langdon Adult Intelligence Test, the Mega Test, and the Titan Test are able to discriminate at the 4.75 sigma (one in a million) level. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
* Zaslow, Jeffrey. "All that Zazz: Aspiring actors place hopes in classified ads," Chicago Sun-Times, May 29, 1990.

ee also

*Marilyn vos Savant, for a discussion of adult (deviation) IQ scores and how they correspond to childhood (ratio) IQ scores.
*Errol Morris

External links

*Errol Morris, "One in a Million Trillion", part [http://youtube.com/watch?v=YEAnFAxMcvg one] , [http://youtube.com/watch?v=gtWGcYPMkCA two] , [http://youtube.com/watch?v=t_P7MlsKG7s three] , [http://youtube.com/watch?v=BInhD-M_xHs four] , [http://youtube.com/watch?v=OU98L56SNpc five] , [http://youtube.com/watch?v=hd1VHrFdiLs six] , [http://youtube.com/watch?v=b6KacfRZF1k seven] .
*Rosner and Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) on YouTube|Crad_HM9KfE|"JimmyKimmel Live!"
*imdb name|1262827|Rick Rosner
* [http://www.errolmorris.com/ A photo of one of Rosner’s fake high school IDs]
*The Daily Show's Moment of Zen for July 12, 2001: Rosner loses on "Millionaire" http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=125760&title=moment-of-zen-richard-rosner

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