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Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaitre

Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaitre

H412/0303

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Georges Lemaitre. Portrait of the Belgian cosmologist and astronomer Georges Edouard Lemaitre (1894-1966). Lemaitre was ordained as a Catholic priest after studying at Louvain University in Belgium. After a spell at the observatories at Cambridge and Harvard, in England and the U.S. respectively, he returned 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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