Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître was a priest, physicist and astronomer whose controversial "cosmic egg" theory became the most prominent concept of cosmology – the Big Bang Theory.
Now, on the scientist's 124th birthday, Google has honored him with a scribble. But who is Georges Lemaître and what were his main ideas?
Lemaître was born in 1894 in Charleroi, Belgium. His original career as a civil engineer was interrupted by the First World War and the future astrophysicist landed in the Belgian Army service. When the war ended, Lemaître switched to mathematics and physics before joining the Catholic priesthood in 1
He became Professor of Astrophysics at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. In 1927 he published a French-language article suggesting that the universe expand . Building on Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, the work in 1931 made little impact on the field until it was translated into English. A condensed version appeared in the Monthly Reports of the Royal Astronomical Society The idea of an expanding universe led the physicist to the concept of a "cosmic egg" that exploded in the first moment of the universe. Also known as the "primal atom", Lemaître thought that this single point was expanding into the incomprehensible wide universe of today.
Although he was mocked by some, the priest's ideas always became mainstream. Other scientists were skeptical about the idea that the universe was static.
The American astronomer Edwin Hubble also examined the idea of an expanding universe at the same time as Lemaître. In 1929, Hubble went one step further and found observable evidence that the universe was expanding.
Scientists, including George Gamow, built on Lemaîter's ideas. What began as a "cosmic egg" developed into the most significant theory of cosmology to date – the big bang theory. The observation of the cosmic background radiation further supported the idea in 1965.
Lemaître died in 1966 at the age of 71 in Leuven, Belgium. During his lifetime, he received several awards for his contributions to science, including the first Eddington Award from the Royal Astronomical Society.
Outside of astronomy, his love of algebra and arithmetic fueled a passion for computer science that grew toward the end of his life.
Read more: High Energy Neutrino Source Discovered, Research Announces & # 39; New Era & # 39; for Particle Physics
Lemaître also devoted himself to his Catholic faith, which he regarded as a separate lens through which he could view the universe.
After the book published by Neil DeGrasse-Tyson Cosmic Horizons "Astronomy at the Top" the priest once said: "As far as I can see, such a theory remains completely beyond any metaphysical or religious question freeing the materialist to deny any transcendental nature … For the believer, it removes any attempt at intimacy with God … It is consistent with Isaiah, who speaks of the hidden God who is hidden even at the beginning of the universe. "