The People Speak, July 15, 2014
Christopher Langan earned the reputation as the 'Smartest Man in America' if not the world, since very few if any have been documented with an IQ of 208. Langan speaks about his Cognitive Theoretical Model of the Universe, his upcoming book, and answers a barrage of questions from the audience on all manner of topics - everything from the religious and metaphysical to the political and conspiratorial.
Guest, Christopher Langan
CHRISTOPHER LANGAN was born in San Francisco and spent most of his early life in Montana. His mother was the daughter of a wealthy shipping executive but was cut off from her family; his father died or disappeared before he was born. He began talking at six months, taught himself to read before he was four, and was repeatedly skipped ahead in school. But he grew up in poverty and says he was beaten by his stepfather from when he was almost six to when he was about fourteen. By then Langan had begun weight training, and forcibly ended the abuse, throwing his stepfather out of the house 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, all that". His brother recalls that "when Christopher was fourteen or fifteen, he would draw things just as a joke, and it would be like a photograph. When he was fifteen, he could match Jimi Hendrix lick for lick on a guitar."
After earning a perfect score on the SAT Langan attended Reed College and later Montana State University, but faced with finance and transportation problems, and believing that he "could literally teach his professors more than they could teach him", dropped out.
He took a string of labor-intensive jobs, and by his mid-40s had been a construction worker, cowboy, forest service firefighter, farmhand, and for over twenty years, a bouncer on Long Island, New York. He says he developed a "double-life strategy", on one side a regular guy, doing his job and exchanging pleasantries, and on the other side coming home to perform equations in his head, working in isolation on his Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe.
Wider attention came in 1999, when Esquire magazine published a profile of Langan and other members of the high-IQ community. Billing Langan as "the smartest man in America", the article's account of the weight-lifting bouncer and his CTMU "Theory of Everything" sparked a flurry of media interest. Board-certified neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Novelly tested Langan's IQ for 20/20, which reported that Langan broke the ceiling of the test. Novelly was said to be astounded, saying: "Chris is the highest individual that I have ever measured in 25 years of doing this."
Articles and interviews highlighting Langan appeared in Popular Science,The Times, Newsday, Muscle & Fitness (which reported that he could bench press 500 pounds), and elsewhere. Langan was featured on 20/20,interviewed on BBC Radio and on Errol Morris's First Person, and participated in an online chat at ABCNEWS.com. He has written question-and-answer columns for New York Newsday, The Improper Hamptonian, and Men's Fitness.
On January 25, 2008, Langan was a contestant on NBC's game show 1 vs. 100, where he won 250,000.
Today Chris continues to work on an upcoming book soon to be published.
The People Speak
The People Speak has evolved over the years with many great guests who have been interviewed by some very fine hosts.
We are a 55 minute show airing every other Sunday between 5-6pm Pacific/8-9pm Eastern. The show features a guest interview from any number of realms of interest (entertainment, science, philosophy, healing, spirituality, activism, politics, literature, etc.).
The guests share their stories, lives, strategies, books, philosophy, films, music, or whatever it is they use as a vehicle for making a difference for the better.
The radio show name, The People Speak, is based on the idea of allowing our audience - the People - a chance to interact with the guests during the hour, and we take phone or text questions from them during the interview.
Past guests include such notables as Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Howard Zinn, Nobel Laureates Mairead Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Kathryn Najimy, Oliver Stone, Jesse Ventura, Richard Belzer, Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan, Scott Horton, Joan Jett, Willie Nelson, George Galloway, Roseanne Barr, Ed Asner, Chevy Chase, as well as various reps from Amnesty International, UN World Food Programme, and many others.