Long before the Big Bang Theory was a hit TV show, it was – and remains – the most relevant theory for how the universe was created. Yet few people recognize the name of Georges Lemaitre, the astronomer who first proposed the theory in the early 20th century.
Google has honored Lemaitre with his very own Google Doodle on July 17, 2018 on what would’ve been his 124th birthday .
Lemaitre was known for his revolutionary theories regarding astronomy and physics, first developing the Big Bang theory and proposing that the universe is constantly expanding.
Google’s new Doodle has just recognized what would’ve been the 124th birthday of Lemaitre
Who was Georges Lemaitre?
Georges Lemaitre was a Catholic priest, astronomer and physics professor best-known for developing a number of groundbreaking theories.
He was born in Charleroi, Belgium, on July 17, 1894.
After attending Jesuit secondary school, Lemaitre started studying civil engineering at the Catholic University of Leuven before serving in World War I. After the conflict ceased, he studied physics and mathematics, also becoming ordained as a priest in 1923.
In 1927, Lemaitre soon proposed that the universe started as a single atom and was constantly expanding over time. Lemaitre’s hypothesis, based on the work of the legendary Albert Einstein himself, drew criticism from the famed professor, who said to him: ‘Your calculations are correct, but your physics is atrocious.’
Within about two years however, Einstein had come around to accept Lemaitre’s theory.
Lemaitre’s theory, eventually known as the ‘Big Bang theory,’ was further substantiated by American astronomer Edwin Hubble, who published his own work about the subject in 1929. The theory about the universe’s rate of expansion, known as the Hubble constant, was inevitably more attached to Hubble’s name than Lemaitre’s due to his broader circulation and name recognition.
The Belgian scientist continued his work for years, ultimately passing away on June 20, 1966, at age 71.
Despite not being as well-known as Einstein or Hubble, Lemaitre was still considered one of the foremost scientists of his day and remains one of the most influential astronomers of all time.
His awarding of the esteemed Franqui Prize in 1934, Belgium’s most prestigious scientific honor, was in part thanks to his nomination by Albert Einstein himself – the same scientist who criticized his theories before accepting them as the prevailing model for how the universe was created.
What is a Google Doodle?
A Google Doodle is a temporary change to the homepage of Google done to honor a specific individual, anniversary, event, accomplishment and the like.
The first Google Doodle was introduced back in 1998 to commemorate the Burning Man festival. While they were originally created by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the company’s cofounders, a dedicated team known as Doodlers was later established to produce them in-house on a more regular basis.
Google Doodles nowadays are typically used to mark major holidays like Christmas and St Patrick’s Day. They’ve also been created to commemorate events like the recent 2018 World Cup in Russia and to honor notable individuals such as Hubert Cecil Booth, Fanny Durack, Viola Desmond and others.