Girl with IQ of 161: Nice, but could she outsmart Anakin Skywalker?

Feb. 13, 2013 | 3:57 p.m.

Charles Wallace didn't speak until he was 4, but by the time he turned 5 he was already smart enough to read people's thoughts and help bring his father back from a planet controlled by an evil disembodied brain. He's pictured here in a page from "A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel," by Hope Larson. (Farrar Straus Giroux / Margaret Ferguson Books)

Matilda Wormwood: Unassuming on the outside, brimming with telekinetic powers on the inside. Mara Wilson played the Roald Dahl heroine in the 1996 film "Matilda." ( Francois Duhamel / Columbia/ TriStar Pictures)

Anakin Skywalker: Gifted pilot, talented engineer, able to see things before they happen. Too bad it didn't turn out better for him. Jake Lloyd played the boy who would become Darth Vader in "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace." (Lucas Film Ltd.)

River Tam from "Firefly" is more than just a teenage fugitive. She's a graceful dancer, a deadly assassin and a brilliant psychic, gifted at everything she tries, but nearly incomprehensible. Played by Summer Glau. (20th Century Fox)

Before he was an adult genius, Tony Stark was a child genius. He started MIT at age 15 and graduated before his 20th birthday. Robert Downey Jr. played the grown-up Stark in "Iron Man." (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount)

This week we got word that British Mensa had accepted 3-year-old Alice Amos as the youngest member of the organization after she scored 162 on a test that Mensa uses to gauge IQ.

Then came the news that a 16-year-old Essex student Lauren Marbe who dreams of having a career in singing and acting scored a 161 on the same test.

“It was such an achievement and I got a bit tearful to tell you the truth,” Marbe told the Telegraph, before going on to admit that she loves her fake nails,  fake tan and watching reality TV shows.

All this got us thinking about child prodigies in pop culture.

Everyone remembers Doogie Howser, the teenage doctor, but from the 5-year-old mind reader Charles Wallace in “A Wrinkle in Time” to the  psychic teenager River Tam in “Firefly,”  genre entertainment has its own examples of kids who are wise and/or talented beyond their years.

Check out five of our favorite child prodigies above, and tell us your favorites in the comments.

– Deborah Netburn


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