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更新时间:2017-10-26 18:43:51 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Albert Einstein’s ‘Theory of Happiness’ Fetches $1.56 Million

More than a century ago, Albert Einstein’s celebrated theory of relativity altered the world’s understanding of space and time. This week, the wild-haired physicist’s far-simpler “theory of happiness,” imparted to a bellboy, fetched more than $1.5 million at an auction in Jerusalem.

一个多世纪前,阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦(Albert Einstein)著名的相对论改变了世界对空间和时间的理解。本周,这位一头蓬发的物理学家传授给一名侍者的简单得多的“幸福理论”,在耶路撒冷的一场拍卖会上拍得逾150万美元(约合1000万元人民币)。

In 1922, Einstein was at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, where he was on a lecture tour, and had recently learned that he had won the Nobel Prize. When a bellboy delivered a message to the physicist, he fished in his pocket for some change to tip him and came up empty.

1922年,正在举办巡回演讲的爱因斯坦住在东京的帝国酒店(Imperial Hotel),并刚刚得知自己获得了诺贝尔奖。当一名侍者递给他一张留言条时,他把手伸进口袋想拿零钱作为小费,却什么都没找到。

Instead, Einstein offered a tip in the form of his theory on how to have a happy life.


“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness,” he wrote in German on a piece of hotel stationery.


On a second sheet, he wrote, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”


Einstein told the bellboy, according to the auction house, that if he was lucky, the notes might become more valuable than a regular tip. His words, befitting a man who had transformed our comprehension of the universe, were prophetic.


On Tuesday, Einstein’s theory of happiness was sold by Winner’s Auctions and Exhibition, based in Jerusalem, for $1.56 million, adding him to the pantheon of the world’s most generous tippers.

周二,爱因斯坦的幸福理论被总部设在耶路撒冷的温纳拍卖展览(Winner’s Auctions and Exhibition)拍出了156万美元的高价。这也让爱因斯坦成为了全世界给小费最大方的人之一。

The identity of the seller, who is European, has not been revealed. (The second note sold for $250,000, according to the auction house.)


Meni Chadad, a spokesman for Winner’s, said by phone from Jerusalem that the auction house had been approached a few months ago by a grandson of the Japanese bellboy’s brother.

温纳的发言人梅尼·沙达德(Meni Chadad)在耶路撒冷接受电话采访时说,几个月前,那名日本侍者的侄孙找到该拍卖行。

After authenticating the documents, he said, the auction house predicted the notes would fetch $5,000 to $8,000. Bidding began at $2,000, but quickly exploded into six figures. The room erupted into applause, Mr. Chadad said.


“It was an all-time record for an auction of a document in Israel, and it was just wow, wow, wow,” he added. “I think the value can be explained by the fact that the story behind the tip is so uplifting and inspiring, and because Einstein continues to be a global rock star long after his death.”


Winner’s said that when the bellboy arrived at Einstein’s hotel room, the celebrated physicist had recently been informed by telegram that he would be receiving the Nobel Prize, and he had been overwhelmed by thousands of well-wishers who had flocked to see him.


It said that the bellboy went to his room just as Einstein was trying to note down his thoughts and feelings. Unable to offer a tip, “he decided to make the most of his new exalted status,” the auction house explained.


Einstein, who died in 1955, had a strong connection to Israel. He was a founder of Hebrew University and a member of its board, and bequeathed it all his papers. His wife Elsa donated a manuscript of his general theory of relativity to the university when it opened in 1925.

1955年去世的爱因斯坦与以色列关系密切。他是希伯来大学(Hebrew University)的创始人和董事之一,并把自己的所有论文遗赠给了希伯来大学。该校1925年建校时,他的妻子埃尔莎(Elsa)捐出了他的广义相对论手稿。

How does Einstein’s tip rank — even if after the fact?


One of the world’s most generous “tips” was given on March 30, 1984, at Sal’s Pizzeria in Yonkers, when a police detective named Robert Cunningham offered to give half his prize money from a $1 lottery ticket to a waitress, Phyllis Penzo.

全世界最大方的“小费”之一,是1984年3月30日在扬克斯的萨尔披萨店(Sal’s Pizzeria)给出的。当时,一个名叫罗伯特·坎宁安(Robert Cunningham)的警探提出把1美元彩票的奖金分一半给服务员菲利斯·彭佐(Phyllis Penzo)。

Ms. Penzo agreed, and they picked the numbers together. The next day, the ticket won $6 million. The story was later made into a film, “It Could Happen to You.”

彭佐同意了,两人一起挑选了数字。第二天,那张彩票中了600万美元的大奖。这个故事后来被改编成了电影《倾城佳话》(It Could Happen to You)。

While Einstein’s theory of happiness affirms the value of the simple life over wealth and success, Mr. Chadad said, the hotel messenger’s descendants were, nevertheless, elated by their new riches.


“They are very, very happy,” he said.