by Graham Pierrepoint
Albert Einstein is inarguably one of the most important human beings who ever lived – there is no contest. The Nobel Prize winning physicist helped to change the way we think about physics in general – his theory of relativity, E=MC2, was a genuine game changer – and it helped to pave the way for research for decades to come. Einstein was also a humble man, by all accounts – and one who had a healthy philosophy on life, as well as a keen interest in discovering how the world and universe around us works. This has certainly been confirmed, after two hand-written notes from the legendary scientist sold at an auction house this week for a staggering $1.56 million and $240,000.
Einstein’s notes were written while staying at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, in 1922 – having just learned that he had won the Nobel Prize for Physics. He had written the notes and handed them to a concierge in lieu of a tip, claiming that they could become valuable in the years to come. Once again, how right Einstein was – just shy of a century later, these two otherwise innocuous notes have fetched short of $2 million at a Jerusalem auction house. It is an incredibly piece of history – and an incredible event in auction history, too.
The notes are fairly simple, but affirm the physicist’s life philosophy – the more expensive note, as it transpired, reads, “A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.” The other note merely reads “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. In either case, oddly prescient words in an increasingly fraught world.
The notes were reportedly sold on by the recipient’s nephew, and the bidder has requested to remain anonymous. Certainly, they know exactly what they were buying into – and this is one piece of history which cannot ever be replicated. Even auction house staff were surprised, with the items selling for far more than the opening bids.
It goes to show that even one person alone can change the world – and that something as simple as a one sentence life philosophy could be worth millions if you change it enough. Cue physicists everywhere – and those confident they can change the world in a similar fashion – getting ready to sign notepapers over the next week or two!