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Georges Lemaitre
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Scientist
    (July 17, 1894-June 20, 1966)
    Born in Charleroi, Belgium
    Full name/title: Monseigneur Georges Henri Joseph Edouard Lemaitre
    Catholic priest and scientist, best known for developing the 'Big Bang Theory' (the scientific theory, not the TV show)
    Proposed that the universe began with a singularity which expanded at an accelerating rate, and that this continuing accelerated expansion explains the 'redshift' of galaxies
    Ordained a priest of the Catholic Church in 1923
    Earned PhDs from the Catholic University of Louvain and MIT
    President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences from 1960 to his death
    Wrote essay, Quaternians et espace Elliptique and book, The Primeval Atom Hypothesis
    Developed Lemaitre Coordinates and (with others) Lemaitre-Tolman-Bondi metrics
    Although world famous in his own time, he is almost forgotten today.
    He called his theory of the origin of the universe the 'Primeval Atom' and the 'Cosmic Egg.
    The term 'The Big Bang Theory' was originally a slur by Fred Hoyle, who went to his grave rejecting it.
    He never worked as a parish priest.
    He got kind of fat as he got older.
    He was a decorated veteran of WWI, serving as an artillery officer in the Belgian Army and was one of the targets of the world's first poison gas attacks emerging unscathed but was wounded by a US Army Air Corps raid during WWII.
    He was one of the most influential scientists in history, and his 'Big Bang Theory' left the previous 'Static Model Theory' (variations of which had held since the virtual dawn of science) an anachronism.
    His ideas were initially vigorously opposed by his PhD advisor, famed astronomer Arthur Eddington and Albert Einstein, who told him, ' Your math is correct but your physics is abominable.' However both men later became supporters, especially Eddington, who made sure his theories got the worldwide exposure they deserved. Einstein was to later say about Lemaitre's theories, 'This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever heard.'
    Even if he had not come up with The Big Bang Theory, his other discoveries -- such as the continually expanding and accelerating nature of the universe and its importance -- would have marked him as one of the great minds in scientific history.
    He was one of the first scientists to use computers in his work and late in life made significant contributions to computer languages and programming.
    He taught college for over forty years.
    He had nice hair and wore really cool looking glasses with circular lenses.
    A really funny TV show is named after his theory.
    Being a Catholic priest as well as a scientist, he rejected there being 'a connection or a conflict' between his religious and scientific beliefs writing, 'As far as I can see, such a theory remains outside any metaphysical or religious question. It leaves the materialist free to deny any transcendental Being... For the believer, it removes any attempt at familiarity with God... It is consonant with Isaiah speaking of the hidden God, hidden even in the beginning of the universe.'
    Showing Albert Einstein he's wrong is pretty darn impressive no matter what the subject.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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