Ways and Mensa to get ahead

July 28, 1995

Warwick University is making a bid to recruit students with the highest IQ by collaborating with Mensa on a series of short degree-accredited courses.

Mensa, the society for people with high IQs which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, has devised eight "enabling courses" which will run from October. Students who successfully complete the courses - which constitute part of Warwick's open studies programme - will satisfy requirements for entry into university.

Leading Mensans have been signed up as course tutors, including IBM director Chris Frost, scientist Jack Cohen, and Adam Smith Institute president Madsen Pirie. The courses, which cost between Pounds 75 and Pounds 112, include "Attitude", "Effective speaking", "The fundamentals of success" and "Creative writing".

One, called "A manual for the scientific brain", carries the health warning "the procedures advocated herein will cause non or anti-scientific brains to wither, atrophy or explode", and asks the question "how do porcupines copulate?".

Madsen Pirie, the think tank supremo who lists Mensa as one of his recreations in his Who's Who entry, has prepared a course entitled "Thinking". Delivered by distance learning, it proposes to test the brain cells of every untutored Mensan by covering Newtonian thinking, Euclidean geometry, and Popper's account of scientific method. There are more than 40,000 members of the society, each with an IQ higher than 147. An IQ of 150 is statistically considered that of a genius.

Sir Clive Sinclair, chairman of British Mensa, said the courses are "the ideal channel for Mensa's bank of talent and creative energy".

Anticipating an influx of geniuses on to Warwick's part-time degree courses, John Moorhouse, Warwick's short courses officer, said: "These new programmes will provide a stimulus for people who may previously have felt excluded."

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