Nautilus

Why Einstein Just Got Ranked as History’s Greatest Hero

It’s heartening to see a scientist be so admired cross-culturally. Maybe humanity—for all its tribalism and sectarianism—is united, at least, in its respect for a commitment to uncover the secrets of nature.Wikicommons

Two predictions of Albert Einstein’s—one scientific, one sentimental—have recently been confirmed.

The first came early in 2016: the existence of . The second came late last month: the handsome price of a pair of notes Einstein wrote, in, had empty pockets but didn’t come up empty. He dished out some priceless wisdom to the young man—“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness,” he wrote in German—that went on to fetch, as Einstein foresaw, a hefty price. He told the bell boy, according to the Jerusalem-based auction house, Winner’s Auctions and Exhibition, that his note could be worth more than a tip someday. Someone bought it for $1.56 million. (Einstein’s second note to the bellboy, far more inexpensive at $250,000, was also more cliché: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”) It was far more than the auction house had predicted it’d go for: $5,000 to $8,000. The bellboy’s descendants, to the New York , were “elated by their new riches.”

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus14 min read
Psychedelics Open A New Window On The Mechanisms Of Perception: Hallucinatory drugs may allow our brains to let go of prior beliefs.
Everything became imbued with a sense of vitality and life and vividness. If I picked up a pebble from the beach, it would move. It would glisten and gleam and sparkle and be absolutely captivating,” says neuroscientist Anil Seth. “Somebody looking a
Nautilus7 min read
Humans Are One Mixed-Up Ape
Recent fossilized bone discoveries in China and Israel support the exciting possibility of new, previously unknown species of archaic humans that wandered the planet alongside Homo sapiens. These discoveries pose new questions regarding the nature of
Nautilus16 min read
The Planets with the Giant Diamonds Inside: Mining the mysteries of Uranus and Neptune.
On the dark night of March 13, 1781, William Herschel settled down in his garden observatory in Bath, England, for a routine night of observing stars, when he noticed something out of place in the heavens. Through the eyepiece of his homemade 7-foot