Trivia Minute August 11, 2015

150: Marilyn vos Savant

by Marcus Michelson
Marilyn vos Savant (Image from Parade.com)
Marilyn vos Savant (Image from Parade.com)

Today is the birthday of the person who held the world record for highest IQ.

Here are some things you may not have known about Marilyn vos Savant.

First, Savant is an author, columnist and lecturer who was born on August 11, 1946 in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of 10 she said she took an IQ test which was scored at 228. The test she took has a score ceiling of 170, so the 228 figure was an extrapolation that has been criticized by many in the field of intelligence testing. A later score of 186, was achieved on another test, the design of which some have taken issue. Guinness has stopped listing the highest IQ due to inconsistency in scoring.

Second, she has written a column for Parade magazine since 1986. In the column, she answers readers’ questions, gives advice and offers quizzes and answers.  Among the most famous of her columns is one that featured what is known as “The Monty Hall Problem,” named after the former host of the game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” The problem starts with three choices: Door number 1, 2 or 3. Behind one of the doors is a car; the other doors hide goats. After the contestant picks a door, the host, who knows what’s behind each door, opens one of the unchosen doors to reveal a goat. The host then offers the contestant the chance to change his choice to the other unopened door. Is it to the contestant’s advantage to change doors? The answer is that the contestant’s odds of winning the game increase from 1-in-3 to 2-in-3 by changing to the other unopened door. 97 percent of reader-submitted computer simulations reached the same answer.

Our question, Marilyn vos Savant is married to medical pioneer Robert Jarvik. What device did Jarvik help develop?

Today is also: Independence Day in the country of Chad, Flag Day in Pakistan, and Mountain Day in Japan. In the U.S. it is National Son’s and Daughter’s Day, National Presidential Joke day and National Raspberry Bombe day.

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