By Shaanaaz de Jager
EVERYONE likes to think they are clever, but very few can actually lay claim to being among the world’s “super-geniuses”.
Former Port Elizabethan and Mensa member Philip Bateman, however, can do precisely this after his genius earned him the bronze medal at the international Mind Sports Olympiad, held in the UK on August 26.
The 67-year-old, who now lives in Cape Town, has won medals at the Olympiad since the inaugural contest in 1997, including four gold medals.
Bateman has an IQ of above 172 on the Stanford-Binet Scale (a standardised test that measures intelligence and cognitive abilities in children and adults) and above 145 on the Wechsler Scale (a test designed to measure intelligence in adults and older adolescents).
Bateman is one of only 30 senior research fellows in the world of the US society for super-geniuses, the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry (ISPE), which is open only to people with IQs measured above the 99.9th rarity percentile – 20 times rarer than the Mensa level.
Bateman, 67, describes the Olympiad as the “Olympic games of the mind”, which tests competitors from at least 50 countries across a range of intellectual disciplines, including chess, mental maths and memory.
“The creative thinking event consists of a set of four taxing exam papers with impossible questions,” he explained. “You may be asked to identify and write a patent report based on minimal information – such as a complex diagram – or write a tongue-in-cheek medical paper – all under exam conditions. You are marked on originality, wit, verbal flexibility and on your ability to write a plausible and cohesive answer.”
The former St George’s Preparatory School and St Andrew’s College pupil is a consultant writer, author, editor, researcher and journalist. He has authored Generals of the Anglo-Boer War, Pioneers of southern Africa, but is best known for his collaboration with best-selling author James Michener on The Covenant.
He has also twice achieved the title of International Grandmaster at the Olympiad and has won at least 40 international awards for creativity, including photography, writing and design.
This is a shortened version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend Post on Saturday, September 15, 2012.