He is also believed to be the first to have come up with the theory that the universe is expanding
On Tuesday, Google celebrated the 124th birth anniversary of Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaitre with a doodle. Lemaitre is credited with what is popularly known as the Big Bang Theory, which says that the universe originated from a single atom, which he referred to as the Cosmic Egg. He is also believed to be the first to have come up with the theory that the universe is expanding.
Born in 1894, he served in the Belgian army during the First World War. He went on to study physics and mathematics and also trained to become a priest. He studied physics and astronomy in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, including University of Cambridge, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1927, he published the paper which theorised – one that was derived from General Relativity – that the universe is expanding. This theory was substantiated by Edwin Hubble two years later, and it would soon be known as Hubble’s Law.
Albert Einstein had initially rejected Lemaitre’s theory, but he later changed his mind. Hubble furthered research on the theory of the Big Bang, and it led to a new branch of science known as relative cosmology.
In 1934, Lemaître received the Francqui Prize, the highest Belgian scientific distinction — one of the proposers being Einstein. In 1953, he was given the inaugural Eddington Medal awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society. He died in 1966, shortly after having learned of the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation.
The doodle website depicts Lemaitre “within the constantly expanding universe that he first envisioned, surrounded by galaxies expanding outward just as he said they would.”