Georges Lemaitre, Belgian cosmologist

Georges Lemaitre, Belgian cosmologist

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Georges Lemaitre (1894-1966), Belgian cosmologist and astronomer. Lemaitre was ordained as a Catholic priest after studying at Louvain University in Belgium. He worked at observatories in Cambridge, England, and Harvard, USA, before returning to Louvain as professor of astronomy in 1927. There he found a solution to Einstein's equations of relativity which showed that the universe was expanding from a 'Big Bang'. Lemaitre theorised that the universe must consequently have started out as an extremely dense 'primal atom', which he thought had exploded due to radioactive decay.

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