Mensa is an international society founded in 1946 and designed to connect individuals with high IQs. In order to be eligible you have to score in the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized test, so only two out of every 100 people are qualified. Here are a few curious facts about the organization.
Mensa’s name is taken directly from Latin where the word has three separate meanings: table, mind and month. Combined these words imply a monthly meeting of the minds. As such, most mensa groups hold casual meetings every month. But as clever as the Latin version is, mensa is also the feminine version of the word stupid in Spanish.
Some members of Mensa in America became a bit too quick to touch fellow members. Now everyone wears a dot on their name-tag during conventions. The dots are green, yellow or red. Green means that someone is open to a hug, yellow means that you should ask first and red means that someone does not want to be hugged. A blue dot has appeared on the scene too. It means single and looking.
There are more than a few famous members of Mensa, from the creator of SKYY Vodka to the cartoonist behind “Dilbert.” Isaac Asimov, the world famous sci-fi writer, was even the vice president for a while. There are a handful of actors too, like Steve Martin and Kara Howard, the adolescent co-star of the film “Moonrise Kingdom.” There’s also Nolan Gould, the actor plays a young fool on the television show “Modern Family.” Gould graduated high school when he was only thirteen.
The youngest member of Mensa, Alexis Martin, is only three years old. Her parents noticed that she was different than most children when she was able to recite her bedtime stories verbatim at one year old. Her IQ is 160.
In a radio broadcast a psychologist named Cyril Burt suggested that there should be a social club where the smartest people could talk without the intrusion of normal minds. One of the future founders of Mensa was inspired by the broadcast. A few years later, Mensa was created and Cyril Bert was named the honorary president. But Cyril Burt wasn’t any run of the mill psychologist. He may have desired a social club for the elite because he was a noted eugenicist. He believed that society should ensure that the intelligent stay in the human gene pool and those that weren’t intelligent be weeded out.