Christopher Michael Langan life and biography

Christopher Michael Langan picture, image, poster

Christopher Michael Langan biography

Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : San Francisco, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2010-10-06
Credited as : Bouncer, one of the smartest people in the World, developed his own "theory of the relationship between mind and reality CTMU

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Christopher Michael Langan (born c. 1952) is an American autodidact whose IQ was reported by 20/20 and other media sources to have been measured at between 195 and 210. Billed by some media sources as "the smartest man in America", he rose to prominence in 1999 while working as a bouncer on Long Island. Langan has developed his own "theory of the relationship between mind and reality" which he calls the "Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe (CTMU)".

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". After earning a perfect score on the SAT Langan attended Reed College and later Montana State University, but faced with financial 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. 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", Mike Sager'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.

In 2004, Langan moved with his wife Gina (née LoSasso), a clinical neuropsychologist, to northern Missouri, where he owns and operates a horse ranch.

On January 25, 2008, Langan was a contestant on NBC's 1 vs. 100, where he won $250,000.

Ideas, affiliations, and publications

In 1999 Langan and his wife, Gina LoSasso, formed a non-profit corporation called the "Mega Foundation" to "create and implement programs that aid in the development of extremely gifted individuals and their ideas." In addition to his writings at the Foundation, Langan's media exposure at the end of the 1990s invariably included some discussion of his "Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe" (often referred to by Langan as "CTMU"), and he was reported by Popular Science in 2001 to be writing a book about his work called Design for a Universe. He has been quoted as saying that "you cannot describe the universe completely with any accuracy unless you're willing to admit that it's both physical and mental in nature" and that his CTMU "explains the connection between mind and reality, therefore the presence of cognition and universe in the same phrase". He calls his proposal "a true 'Theory of Everything', a cross between John Archibald Wheeler's 'Participatory Universe' and Stephen Hawking's 'Imaginary Time' theory of cosmology." In conjunction with his ideas, Langan has claimed that "you can prove the existence of God, the soul and an afterlife, using mathematics."

Langan is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID), a professional society which promotes intelligent design, and has published a paper on his CTMU in the society's online journal Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design in 2002. Later that year, he presented a lecture on his CTMU at ISCID's Research and Progress in Intelligent Design (RAPID) conference. In 2004, Langan contributed a chapter to Uncommon Dissent, a collection of essays that question unguided evolution and promote intelligent design, edited by ISCID cofounder and leading intelligent design proponent William Dembski.

He has recently been profiled in Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story of Success, where Gladwell looks at the reasons behind why Langan was unable to flourish in a university environment. Gladwell writes that although Langan "read deeply in philosophy, mathematics, and physics" as he worked on the CTMU, "without academic credentials, he despairs of ever getting published in a scholarly journal". Gladwell's profile on Langan mainly portrayed him as an example of an individual who failed to realize his potential in part because of poor social skills resulting from, in Gladwell's speculation, being raised in poverty.

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