So who would you nominate as one of the smartest people in history: Stephen Hawking? Marie Curie? Leonardo Da Vinci? Albert Einstein would probably pop up in most peoples minds as being the most important physicist of the 20th Century. Of course when you ask exactly what he’s famous for, we all might be a little more stumped.
Then we all think, “Eureka!” Einstein’s famous for the Theory of Relativity: E = mc²
Do I even understand this theory? Can I explain it to you? Nope. Nor am I even gonna try, although my high school science teacher made a pretty good stab at it back in the day. Truth be told, I never was a whiz at Science in school. I always preferred History, Music and Literature.
Why is it important? Something to do with the atom bomb I believe. When we’re one day flying around in dilithium crystal powered spaceships, landing on strange planets and sleeping with sexy, green skinned alien women- the human race will surely thank Albert Einstein.
Of course his absurd, unruly gray hair, mustache and droopy dog face are instantly recognizable. His rumpled tweed suits, eccentric mannerisms and slightly disconnected from reality gaze, fit well into the “nutty professor” stereotype. Supposedly, Einstein would often go walking into town wearing mismatched socks, or with one sock missing, as he shuffled along, mind lost in questions of cosmic importance. Having become a famous public figure, people would often try to stop him on the street and talk to him, to which he would reply, “Pardon me, sorry! Always I am mistaken for Professor Einstein.”
But as it turns out Einstein was also a pacifist, Civil Rights advocate and humanist thinker. Some of his quotes and philosophy on life are just as beautiful in their simplicity as his scientific theories. Not content with simply revolutionizing Quantum Mechanics, Einstein also came up with his lesser known “Theory Of Happiness”.
Out of change for a tip in Tokyo in 1922, the physicist offered a bellboy some advice scribbled on hotel notepaper. This week it was auctioned.
According to the recently published story, Einstein was staying at a hotel in Tokyo in 1922 where he had just learned via telegram delivery that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize. He wanted to tip the bellboy who had delivered the message, but had no change in his pocket. So, he quickly scribbled down a note in his native German and gave it to the bellboy. It read:
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness”
He gave it to the bellboy and told him that, if he was lucky, the note might just become more valuable than money. Turns out, the great-grandnephew of the original bellboy still had this handwritten note in his possession and, through an auction house, sold it for $1.56 Million in 2017!
So there you have it: the world’s smartest man, having just learned that he has won the Nobel Prize for Physics, reducing his life’s philosophy into one sentence. Einstein’s humble Theory Of Happiness. A life that embraces inner peace and rejects earthy, material success is of far more worth than that of the vainglorious, harried pursuit of celebrity and gold. Be satisfied with what you have. Turns out Einstein was a pretty smart guy after all…