Georges Lemaitre & The Big Bang Theory

Instructor: Jeff Fennell

Jeff has a master's in engineering and has taught Earth science both domestically and internationally.

Georges Lemaitre was a Belgian astronomer who first proposed the idea that the universe was created from an explosion from a single point. This lesson will cover the facts of his career and his theory.

Facts

Georges Edward Lemaitre (July 17, 1894 - June 20, 1966) was a Belgian astronomer and cosmologist. He was the first to propose the modern Big Bang Theory, the theory that the universe began from the explosion of a small original 'super atom.'

Georges Lemaitre
lemaitre

After World War I, Lemaitre studied astronomy at the University of Cambridge where he received his Ph.D. in 1923. In that same year, Lemaitre was ordained as a priest. It was in 1927 that Lemaitre expanded on work done by Edwin Hubble in a published paper in Belgium. In this paper, Lemaitre formulated the idea of an expanding universe. Unfortunately, this paper did not receive much attention until it was translated into English in 1931.

Lemaitre returned to Belgium as an astrophysics professor at Catholic University of Louvain. The same year, Lemaitre published a rigorous solution to Einstein's field equations. The solution became known as the 'Friedman-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker metric.' In the papers, it is mathematically shown that the universe is expanding and originated from a 'primitive atom' explosion. At that time, Russian mathematician Friedman published a similar result, but it was unknown to Lemaitre.

Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang is the most common term to describe the birth of the universe and its subsequent evolution after the initial conditions. This model has been the most widely used, studied and observed within current studies of the universe.

There is still much to be learned about general relativity. We can only understand to the extent we can observe. By observing the measurements between galaxies, scientists have calculated the age of the universe to be approximately 13.73 billion years.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support