The Beast's brainiest-cities list justifies its selection of Boulder by citing another list -- the BusinessWeek one that said Boulder's the best town for startups. As for its own criteria, the Beast lists these smart statistics:
Computer Math Degree Recipients: 7.84 percent Science Degree Recipients: 3.15 percent Graduate and Professional Degree Recipients: 24.22 percent
Boulder is known as a liberal enclave, but it's also home to the topnotch University of Colorado at Boulder, which has some of the nation's best science programs. The city is also the base for a number of major science research centers, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Space Science Institute, and the Rocky Mountain Institute.
These attributes helped Boulder outdistance big cities (San Francisco; Washington, D.C.) and more modest ones (Ithaca, New York; Ames, Iowa). Also recognized: Fort Collins and Loveland, which wound up fourteenth. No text for this finish, but a lovely photo.
Last month, of course, Money magazine called Fort Collins the sixth-best place to live in America.
Apparently, though, it's for people not as bright as those in Boulder, where even the illegal marijuana grows are sophisticated. Where there's smoke, there's intellectual fire.