Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory: Every Secondary Character, Ranked By Intelligence

Although Sheldon would probably protest, some secondary characters are just as intelligent as people from his group - if not more so.

As many fans know, The Big Bang Theory is a show that centralizes on the lives of several people who work in the science sector. It’s safe to say that they were a particularly intelligent bunch considering they were either physicists, biologists, neuroscientists, pharmaceutical reps, and engineers.

But would fans consider them to be the most intelligent characters on the show? Probably not. Although Sheldon would probably protest, some secondary characters are just as intelligent as members from his group – if not more so. However, there were also some that weren’t as intelligent. Just take a look at these examples…

Zack Johnson

Zack and Penny in The Big Bang Theory

Although he seems to be a pretty great guy, most fans will agree that Zack isn’t the most intelligent person. While Zack has revealed that he did attend college, it’s safe to say it wasn’t the most prestigious institutes. Fans have seen him admit that he thought the wedding ceremonies in Vegas were fake.

He doesn’t seem to pick up on sarcasm, believes Elvis is alive, and he seemed to think that Raj’s laser would be able to blow up the moon. Even Penny admitted that his stupidity had become insufferable. Nevertheless, fans still love him because he does show a genuine interest in science and the boys’ work.

Missy Cooper

Missy Cooper in The Big Bang Theory

Another character who has been deemed one of the least intelligent is Missy Cooper. Out of all the Cooper children, Mary has admitted that Missy is as “dumb as soup” and isn’t as successful as her siblings. Sheldon has also confirmed that Missy isn’t as academically inclined when he revealed that it took her six years to graduate from high school.

However, fans need to consider that Mary has put Sheldon on a pedestal and has neglected Missy for most of her life. Since Missy only appeared in four episodes, fans can only base her intelligence in other areas.

Mary Cooper

Mary Cooper talking on the phone in The Big Bang Theory

Most fans will also agree that Mary Cooper isn’t as clever as she makes herself out to be. She may be a wise woman and may know how to handle Sheldon, but there are many reasons that show she is a little simple-minded. As fans know, Mary has expressed bigoted views that suggest she needs educating on political correctness.

It’s not as if she is doing it unwittingly either. Mary has been reprimanded by Leonard on a couple of occasions and she seems frustrated when Missy scolds her for her inappropriateness too. She is intelligent but not as much as everyone thinks.

Stephanie Barnett

Leonard and Stephanie sitting on a couch during a date talking on TBBT

Although she is not as memorable as the other minor characters, Stephanie is definitely a contender for the most intelligent. Back in season 2, the writers introduced Stephanie, who was a new love interest for Leonard. Sheldon was seen to approve of the match quite a lot once he discovered that she was a surgical resident.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory: Which Secondary Character Are You, Based On Your Zodiac?

To get into a medical residency, the writers imply that Stephanie is academically smart. However, the practical stuff is a different matter. On two separate occasions, Leonard asks Stephanie about her day and twice she hasn’t given a good response. At one point she even says her earring was in a patient’s chest. Who knows if she actually finished her residency in the end…

Priya Koothrapali

She may not be a scientist like her brother but fans will agree that Priya is very intelligent. Not only did she attend Cambridge University but she also attained her LLB degree by graduating top of her class. Her intelligence was further cemented when it was revealed that she is licensed to practice law in three different countries.

Fans should also give Priya credit for managing to take on Sheldon and finding so many loopholes in the ‘Roommate Agreement.’ Considering how much Sheldon treasures his contracts and the effort he puts in proves she was a worthy adversary.

Barry Kripke

John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke in The Big Bang Theory

He may be a creepy and misogynistic guy but most fans will agree that Barry Kripke is quite an intelligent person. With a Ph.D. under his belt, Kripke has been deemed a highly respectable scientist among his colleagues at Caltech. Even Sheldon expressed some jealous tendencies over Kripke’s grant proposal.

Furthermore, Kripke’s intelligence can also be cemented by the fact that Sheldon is willing to work with him. Considering Sheldon doesn’t like sharing credit, this is a pretty big deal…

Leslie Winkle

Leslie Winkle with her hands on her waist

Many fans would also agree that Leslie Winkle should be considered one of the more intelligent characters on the show too. With a Ph.D. also under her belt, Leslie has proven to have a strong passion for science and her job. It also appears that her intelligence might just be as high as Sheldon’s since she has solved numerous problems he could not.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory: The 10 Best Sheldon Cooper Quotes

For instance, in season 1, Leslie managed to offend Sheldon when she solved the equation he was struggling with. The fact that the boys asked her to replace Sheldon on their Physics’ Bowl team also suggests her high-level intelligence. It’s no wonder that Sheldon felt so threatened.

Bert Kibbler

Bert Kibbler smiling to someone off camera on The Big Bang Theory

Another secondary character that was seen to be highly intelligent was Bert Kibbler. He may not have a Ph.D. like the other characters but Bert managed to show his intelligence by winning the MacArthur Fellowship grant. Bert also manages to impress Sheldon when he asks him to collaborate on a Dark matter project.

He also worked on several projects with Leonard and Raj, which suggests he is also respected by his peers and deemed very professional by the college. Bert probably went on to do great things.

Beverly Hofstadter

Beverly and Sheldon at Leonard's lab in The Big Bang Theory.

Another character that fans would say is highly intelligent is Beverly Hofstadter. Since she was a practicing psychiatrist, Beverly not only had a doctorate in Philosophy but she also had one in medicine too.

Beverly’s intelligence was further cemented by the fact that she managed to successfully publish several books and papers – some of which had won numerous awards. Again, fans have to consider the fact that Sheldon highly admired her and her work. Beverly probably was the most intelligent woman on the show.

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking on his laptop in his wheelchair and Sheldon standing beside him in a grey suit on big bang theory

Out of all the secondary characters to feature on the show, it is safe to say that Professor Stephen Hawking was the most intelligent. Allegedly having one of the highest I.Q.’s in the world, Hawking was notorious for his intelligence and his work on black holes.

He also published several books, including A Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell, and A Briefer History of Time – all of which are highly respected in the science community. Even if fans hadn’t heard of Hawking before the show, they would know he was intelligent since he was considered to be an idol of Sheldon’s. The man was a genius.

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