How Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) – a Catholic Priest – Progressed Secular Science

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‘A Day Without Yesterday’: Georges Lemaitre & the Big Bang

Albert Einstein (right) and the great mathematician Georges Lemaître (left). Until Lemaitre presented Einstein with his paper detailing how the universe had a definite beginning (subsequently termed by Hoyle as the ‘Big Bang’), and that space was expanding, Einstein use to think that the universe was eternal. In the history of science, for instance, a great injustice is perpetuated against Lemaitre because of his faith. His mathematical breakthrough (although confirmed by Einstein as ‘correct’) is ignored, and the concept that the universe has a definite beginning is instead erroneously ascribed to Edwin Hubble. Einstein stated that Lemaitre’s mathematics was perfect – but that he did not care much for his physics. This was because Lemaitre talked of a ‘cosmic egg’ to describe the  beginning of the universe, for which no evidence exists. My view is that a person’s personal beliefs should not exclude that person from official recognition if their scientific thinking is correct. Of course, I do not support politicised religion, and fully acknowledge that Lemaitre was probably motivated by proving the creationism of theology correct – and in the process – science wrong. As matters transpired, Lemaitre achieved neither of these objectives, but he did advance secular scientific understanding, and for that he should be properly remembered.

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