Christopher Langan

“Christopher Michael Langan (born March 25, 1952) is an American whose IQ was reportedly believed to be “between 190 and 210”. In Morris 2001, Langan relates that he took what was billed as “the world’s most difficult IQ test” in Omni magazine, and he gives his IQ as “somewhere between 190 and 210”. He has been described as “the smartest man in America” as well as “the smartest man in the world” by some journalists. Langan has developed a “theory of the relationship between mind and reality” which he calls the “Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe” (CTMU)

Langan was born in San Francisco, California, in 1952. He spent most of his early life in Montana, with his mother and three brothers. His mother was the daughter of a wealthy shipping executive but was cut off from her family’s fortune. Christopher did not grow up with his biological father, as the man died or disappeared before Christopher was born. Because Christopher’s father was absent, the family struggled to escape poverty.

During elementary school, Langan was repeatedly skipped ahead and was tormented by his peers. Langan claims he was brutally beaten by his stepfather, Jack Langan. Jack Langan denies this claim. Chris Langan recalled that his “stepfather constantly asked [Chris] difficult questions, and when I’d give him correct answers to those questions, he’d bat me in the mouth or something of that nature to let me know he didn’t appreciate a guy trying to be smarter than he was.” At the age of twelve years, Langan began weight training, and forcibly ended the abuse by throwing his stepfather out of the house when he was fourteen, and telling him never to return.

Langan says he spent the last years of high school mostly in independent study, teaching himself “advanced math, physics, philosophy, Latin, and Greek”. He earned a perfect score on the SAT (pre-1995 scale) despite taking a nap during the test. Langan attended Reed College and later Montana State University, but faced with financial and transportation problems, and believing that he could teach his professors more than they could teach him, he dropped out.

In 1999, Langan and others formed a non-profit corporation called the “Mega Foundation” to “create and implement programs that aid in the development of severely gifted individuals and their ideas” (the organization’s designation for those with IQs of 164 or above).

Langan told Muscle Magazine that “you cannot describe the universe completely with any accuracy unless you’re willing to admit that it’s both physical and mental in nature” and that the CTMU “explains the connection between mind and reality, therefore the presence of cognition and universe in the same phrase”. He calls his proposal “a true ‘Theory of Everything’, a cross between John Archibald Wheeler’s ‘Participatory Universe’ and Stephen Hawking’s ‘Imaginary Time’ theory of cosmology.” In conjunction with his ideas, Langan has claimed: “You can prove the existence of God, the soul and an afterlife, using mathematics.”

The CTMU has gained both praise and controversy in the scientific community. Robert Seitz, a former NASA Executive and Mega Foundation director, stated that “every physicist is inundated with amateurs’ ‘Theories of Everything,’ but Chris’ CTMU is very, very different”. On the flip side, the CTMU theory has been criticized for its use of convoluted language. Langan’s use of terms he has invented (or redefined) has made his exposition obscure. Some suggest this is deliberate.

Chris Langan grooms a horse at his ranch in Missouri.
Asked about creationism, Langan has said:

“I believe in the theory of evolution, but I believe as well in the allegorical truth of creation theory. In other words, I believe that evolution, including the principle of natural selection, is one of the tools used by God to create mankind. Mankind is then a participant in the creation of the universe itself, so that we have a closed loop. I believe that there is a level on which science and religious metaphor are mutually compatible.”

In a 2014 radio interview, Langan said that he has worked on the P versus NP problem and thinks he can prove that P does not equal NP.

In March of 2017, Langan’s article “An Introduction to Mathematical Metaphysics” was published in Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 13, No 2 (2017).” (Wikipedia)