Google celebrated on Tuesday the 124th anniversary of the birth of the Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître with a scribble. Lemaître, who was a professor of physics, is believed to have been the first to theorize that the universe is expanding.
Lemaître is also credited with the proposition of what is now known as the Big Bang theory, which says that the universe began with a single particle explosion.
Born in 1894, Lemaître was a Belgian Catholic priest who proposed that the universe begin as a single primordial atom, which he referred to as the “Cosmic Egg”. His thesis was based on calculations derived from Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Einstein, however, dismissed Lemaitre’s work, saying: “Your calculations are correct, but your physics is atrocious.” Two years later, Einstein accepted Lemaître’s calculations.
An article published by Lemaitre in 1927 theorizing that the universe was expanding was corroborated by the observations of the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, published in 1929. Lemaitre accurately estimated the numerical value that astronomers have called the Hubble constant, a unit of measurement that describes the rate of expansion of the universe.
Lemaître was trained in physics at Cambridge, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.