Talk:Georges Lemaître

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I remove the statement "(also Lemaistre)", it seems wrong: I'm somewhat familiar with cosmology and I never have seen his name written like this and Google show only 1 article with this spelling (and this is a French-Canadian one. Also his first name is not Georges-Henri; Henri is just his second (or third) firstname -- Looxix 01:09 May 11, 2003 (UTC)

The circumflex accent ^ over a vowel, in many cases, marks where the letter s used to follow in earlier French.laburke 05:23 27 September 2007.

did not invent Big Bang[edit]

The statement "Lemaître proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe" is wrong. If you have a look at his 1931 paper you will see that his cosmological model is one that starts with a steady-state solution, Einstein's steady state solution. It grows from this steady state due to instabilities caused by Einstein's cosmological constant. This is not a Big Bang model, but a model where the universe is arbitrarily old. Lemaitre's 1931 (reference 8) is the main source for this, but I'll look for another source as well before modifying the article Mollwollfumble (talk) 04:18, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Wrong.Einsten said to Lemaitre "your mathematics is correct but your physics is abominable" Einstien disagreed with Lemaitre's Primordial Egg theory. Yet Lemaitre got the idea from Einsteins relativity equations (relative velocities). Lemaitre postulated that if everything is moving, then everything must have come from somewhere. Einstein advocated a cosmological "constant" which we now know was completely wrong. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

timeline discrepency[edit]

In the first paragraph the article states that Lemaitre published his "Big Bang" theory between 1927 and 1933. The following sentence states that Einstein believed in a steady state model of the universe. The link to the steady state model explains that that model was developed in 1948 by Fred Hoyle and collegues. How could Einstein have believed in a steady state model in the 1930's when the model had not been proposed until 1948?

Einstein proposed a steady state cosmological model in 1917. --isidora 21:58, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

This isn't exactly true. Einstein proposed a modification to the laws of relativity to make possible an eternal universe and initially strongly disagreed with what became known as the big bang theory. However this is not the same as the steady state theory proposed by Hoyle in 1948. I won't get into that theory here, but there is significant difference. I'll update this article. TastyCakes 20:54, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
The steady state model of Hoyle bears no connection to the steady state model of Einstein. The steady state model of Einstein is a true steady state in that the universe is unmoving and mass is conserved. In the steady state model of Hoyle the universe is expanding rapidly, and mass is not conserved in the Lagrangian frame of reference.Mollwollfumble (talk) 04:18, 8 July 2009 (UTC)


What's with the Fr. before his name everywhere? Is that appropriate? I can see saying "Friar" (or whatever it stands for) before his name is mentioned the first time, but calling him by his last name seems appropriate for the rest of it. No? 04:38, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Not to mention wrong middle name! Middle name Eduard is reported by both John Farrell in The day without yesterday and Helge Kragh in Cosmology and Controversy. Several other sources (e.g. the Encyclopedia of Astronomy & Astrophysics) confirm this. I've found a few non-Wiki-based references to Henri, previously used in the article, most notably in Mather & Boslough The Very First Light where his full name is given (in the index) as Georges Henri Joseph Eduard LeMaître. No authorative source mentions "Georges-Henri". Lemaitre himself just used "Georges Lemaitre" on his scientific papers. I've preferred the version used by professional historian Kragh. I removed the excessive "Fr." as repeated usage is not even sanctioned in official catholic publications. Actually the most common honorific given him in English is Abbé; not sure if this is equivalent to Fr. PaddyLeahy 22:08, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I think Fr., supposedly meaning Father is confusing to most readers, and should go. Abbreviations are so confusing. If you have a reference for especially honorific titles, it might be appropriate. Without references I think we should skip both Fr. and Msgr. since it will only lead to confusion to most readers. Abbé, as far as I know, can be both Abbot or approx:Acolyte in French. Are there more interpretations, or was he really an Abbot? Do you know which Abbey? Otherwise Monseigneur, fully spelled out sounds like something most would understand. DanielDemaret 22:23, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
If he himself just used "Georges Lemaitre", then I vote that is what we call him here. DanielDemaret 22:25, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
He himself just used Fr. Georges Lemaitre.
Correction: I now notice that on ADS, the name on his PhD thesis (MIT) is given as Georges Henri Lemaître. This makes the Mather & Boslough form seem rather plausible. PaddyLeahy 18:58, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

He is a priest.[edit]

Fr. Lemaitre wasn't just a scientist, he took the sacrament of Holy Orders, and as he deserves, indeed must be refered to as Fr. Lemaître, anything less is insulting towards the priestly vows Fr. Lemaitre took. As per the sacred vows he took, his holy obligations, regardless of how accomplished he was scientifically, no doubt took first priority in his life, as they do, and ought in the lives of all priests. Thus to strip him of his title is to reduce him to a mere scientist, when, according to Church Law, he was a priest first and foremost. I don't expect you to understand if you're not Catholic, but an honorary title such as Father in the Catholic Church is very important. To simply refer to a priest by his last name is disrespectful to him and his sacred ordination. Such disrespect would not be tolerated were it to be directed towards, perhaps, a Hindu. Why should it be accepted any more if it's directed towards a Catholic? (By the way, Fr. = Father, not Friar) 03:13, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

If someone is a doctor you don't put Dr before his name in every article. Does someone that's spent many tough years in med school or academia not, by similar reason, deserve to be called Dr? My feeling is that putting Fr. before everything makes the article read awkwardly. I doubt very much Lemaitre would take offense to being referred to without the Fr. I don't particularly care one way or another, but I don't like to see people using religion as a high horse for writing an encyclopedia. As far as I'm concerned, he's a man like any other and I'm very close to removing the Fr's again.. TastyCakes 17:16, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
In truth, in his religion, the word 'Father' becomes literally part of his actual name and not just a title. Indeed often with that their is an entire name change. It is thus not suitable that his name would be changed nor is it sensible speculation to say that he wouldn't mind.
Please sign your contributions. As "Father" is an English-language word and Lemaitre's native language was French, the above comment seems ill-informed. As noted elsewhere, until promoted to Monsigneur, he was known to the English-language press as "the Abbé Lemaître" (e.g. see 1932 article in external links). You can easily search for his papers on the NASA ADS database, which showed that his byline as a professional scientist was just Georges Lemaître. PaddyLeahy 22:05, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
IMO, the first graph in this section could have been written much more gently and accomplished its purpose. One does not have to be a Catholic to appreciate the respect owed to priests of that denomination. The omission of the honorific did not necessarily constitute an insult, and I don't believe it is constructive to assume that it is such. On the other hand, I am chuckling over the thought that without his religious status, this man would have been a "mere" scientist--he pioneered and inspired a body of work which, carried on by Gamow, Hoyle, Dicke, Guth, Penrose and scores of others worth mentioning, has brought us a magnificent view of the origin of the Universe in which we live. That doesn't strike me as "mere" science. Terry J. Carter. (talk) 02:12, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Fred Hoyle used to mock Fr Lemaitre on his radio show in the 1950s. The basis of his mocking Lemaitre wasn't the science, since we know that the science was very good. Hoyle, and others mocked and diminished him because of his chosen religious calling. Lematre's work was suppressed for years, admittedly by some, because he was a priest. The refusal to include Lemaitre;s self-chosen title name is nothing more than a continuation of the persistent anti catholic slight that people did to him his whole life. Georges-Henri is his baptized name given to him by his catholic parents at his baptism conducted by a priest. I suppose that isn't valid either huh? He, by his choice entered into the study of Physics and was conferred a Title Doctor of Philosophy. He, by his choice entered into the study of Theology and was conferred a Title Father. To deny him his titles conferred on him after years of study, both FR and PhD, is an assault on his accomplishments for nefarious purposes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:39, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

In the catholic church such titles and abbreviations are Latin. Therefore members of an order are called frater (brother) abbrviated F. When they are priests they are called pater (father) which is abbreviated as P. Therefore he schould be called P. Georges Lemaître OSB (OSB = ordo sancti Benedicti). -- (talk) 13:02, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

a priest but not a Jesuit[edit]

He is indeed a priest, but not belonging to a religuous order. Even after having studied at a a Jesuit College (probably NOT College Saint-Michel), he did not become a Jesuit himself. --Xaviervd 10:35, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Do you mean he was a diocesan priest?Tryst Nguyen (talk) 02:34, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Pjposullivan (talk) 21:30, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
If anyone is going to add that he was a Jesuit, please can they find out when he entered the Jesuits, where he trained for them and when he took vows? As he did none of these things, he was not a Jesuit. Going to a Jesuit secondary school when he was a child does not mean that he was a Jesuit.


  • removed this section from the page. It's unsources and contradicts the accounts of correspondences and exchanges listed in the rest of the article.

Sociable, devoted to his students and collaborators, he remained, however, an isolated researcher, and one finds only few correspondences and scientific exchanges with his peers.


There is a paranoid comment in the lead to the effect that the "American publicity machine" denied Lemaitre credit for what we call Hubble's law. There maybe a kernel of truth if we leave out the nationalism: Hubble was certainly an excellent self-publicist whereas, as documented by Helge Kragh in Cosmology and Constroversy, Lemaitre passed up numerous opportunities to publicise his theory in the three years between 1927 and 1930, only reacting when he heard in 1930 that Eddington and de Sitter were promoting an expanding universe model without giving credit to Lemaitre (for which Eddington, Lemaitre's one-time advisor, was duly apologetic). Not quite sure how to phrase concisely, so no change yet. I did delete the claim that Einstein's opposition suppressed Lemaitre's work, since Lemaitre was the only person who knew Einstein's views (of course this probably discouraged Lemaitre himself). PaddyLeahy 22:54, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Very well. I am guilty of some of that. I got it from the book The Big Bang by Simon Singh. It was in no way any criticism of Einstein, neither from my part nor from the books part. It was an interesting part of how the Scientific Community sometimes rely more on authority than on independent thought. I know of several other such examples from various places. Perhaps this interesting behavious would fit better in a complementary article on Science progress today? There are several aspects that are misunderstood today. DanielDemaret 08:33, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I've just read that section of Singh's book myself! I wouldn't describe what happened as Einstein's opposition "surpressing" Lemaitre's theory. It's just that 1) Lemaitre was tremendously discouraged by Einstein's antipathy towards his theory, and 2) Einstein was in those days THE premiere cosmologist of the world, a bona fide scientific superstar, and there was so much prestige attached to him that his lack of support would have been the kiss of death. Einstein was almost a guru. He later said something to the effect that "I was punished for my insolence to auhtority, by becoming an authority myself."-Colin. 06:31, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I missed Singh's book, but I am fairly well read in the popular literature on the subject of the Big Bang. I don't think we need flog ourselves for denying Lemaitre credit for "Hubble's Law," per se. Hubble doesn't even deserve sole credit for Hubble's Law, since its initial formulation needed correcting, in part through the work of others. I don't see a conspiracy there--it's just how science works. I.e., progress is incremental and it's due to interlocking contributions by many people. Further, if there were a conspiracy, it wouldn't be strictly American--I examined two of Steven Hawking's books and fought nary a mention of his Belgian predecessor. Myself, I think that was rather tacky, but not necessarily conspiratorial. Terry J. Carter


How do you pronounce his name? I don't speak French. I can read IPA or X SAMPA, if need be. 06:34, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

pronounced George Leh-meht-reh.laburke 05:00, 27 September 2007

I am belgian as was Georges Lemaître and I think that the .ogg file proposed after his name is not a good pronunciation of his name. I afirm that the "r" should be more stressed as an "rh".

French speaker here--Yeah, the pronunciation on the ogg is terrible. It should have an emphasis on the "meh" and then a secondary emphasis on the "rh" sound at the end. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

I inserted a new pronunciation ogg file that I consider to be closer to standard French. —capmo (talk) 23:52, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

English speaker here, but a professional broadcaster who was once (regarding Hurricane Georges) instructed that Georges is not properly pronounced "George" but rather "zhorge"; can anyone confirm this in reference to Lemaitre? Oh, and regarding the "Fr." being an inseparable part of this remarkable man's name and to delete it is to engage in anti-Catholicism is preposterous; if we can call Pope Pius XII just Pius after the first citation, then we can certainly refer to him as Lemaitre without insulting him, although I admit to wishing I knew how to encode the diacritical mark on his I. [signed] FLORIDA BRYAN — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:3:1000:4E2:9227:E4FF:FEF0:BBDE (talk) 14:30, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Yes, in French his name is pronounced "zhorge" (first e is mute). Listen to the pronunciation file at the beginning of the article for a reference. —capmo (talk) 23:52, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Changing Things Around[edit]

As Wikipedia doesn't like trivia sections, and as the material doesn't jar too much with the rest of the stuff on the page, could someone move *Trivia* into the main section? Pittsburgh Poet (talk) 22:44, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Proof of His Intuitions?[edit]

The last paragraph reads: "He died on June 20, 1966 shortly after having learned of the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation, proof of his intuitions about the birth of the Universe." In science, one cannot actually "prove" something (as the article on the Scientific Method explains). This needs to be re-written to say something more along the lines of: "He died on June 20, 1966, shortly after having learned of the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation, which provided evidence for this intuitions about the birth of the Universe." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Welcome! I'm sure no-one would jump down your throat if you went ahead and made such a change. PaddyLeahy (talk) 11:52, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry, what ?[edit]

"This interest grew with age until it absorbed him almost completely." I don't get the point of this very vague remark and I can't seem to find the source either.

Ha ha, yeah, I also found that wording unusual (and funny). It almost sounds like he was eventually assimilated into the computer... ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:38, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Biography before Work?[edit]

Why is his work mentioned before his biography? This article is about him -- it has his name as the title -- and it strikes me as highly unusual to place his work before his biography. (It even occurred to me that perhaps someone didn't want people reading about a priest being a scientist and hoped they'd leave after reading the 'work' section...) Consider the article on Hitler: his early life is mentioned before the work he's known for.

Can't we switch the two sections? Certainly, the summary before the contents is appropriate, but we shouldn't be putting the cart before the horse. Please let's switch Contents 1 & 2. -- Newagelink (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:06, 8 May 2009 (UTC).


He invented lolcats?

"Friedmann was handicapped by living and working in the USSR, and died in 1925, soon after inventing lolcats, now known as the Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker metric."

I agree. Alexander Friedmann was the first Lemaitre. Calling Lemaitre father of the Big Bang and thus ignore Friedman - I think it's not right. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:47, 7 January 2017 (UTC)


I think I have a problem with "He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble" per our core policy WP:NPOV. --John (talk) 16:32, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Maybe we could change "widely" to "usually", which has less connotation? Lordelicht (talk) 20:41, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

He wasn't the first. That was Edgar Allan Poe, q.v. his page. (talk) 14:10, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

This statement is incorrect[edit]

The article currently reads "Lemaître translated his article into English in 1931 with the help of Arthur Eddington but the part of it pertaining to the estimation of the "Hubble constant" are not translated in the 1931 paper, for reasons that have never been properly explained [10]." This is incorrect. The translator of the article is anonymous. It is a bit of a scandal that these pages were not translated. Some have suggested Hubble translated the paper and left them out on purpose but we don't know that. The translator is unknown. As far as I know, there is no evidence Arthur Eddington translated the paper either. We should not blame Eddington for the scandal. RonCram (talk) 12:43, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Not a Jesuit[edit]

This has been said too many times already, but people still make the mistake. As per Encyclopedia Britannica's article on Lemaître. He was not a Jesuit. The American Museum of Natural History's article has nothing on him being a Jesuit. A biography written about him called "'A Day Without Yesterday': Georges Lemaître & the Big Bang." Commonweal Magazine Vol. 127 No. 6 (March 24, 2000), and featured on Catholic Education in this article - I would like to think that would know whether he was a Jesuit, says that he was not a Jesuit. PBS's biography also has nothing on him being a Jesuit. Therefore, anything that contradicts these established, verifiable secondary sources needs to clearly show that was a Jesuit by stating how, where and when he became one. Pjposullivan (talk) 03:25, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

The Tablet, a weekly Catholic publication, categorically states in this direct scan of an article about George Lemaître that "he would become a diocesan priest, not a Jesuit". Pjposullivan (talk) 03:39, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Did not invent theory of expanding universe[edit]

Lemaitre was not the first to propose the idea of an expanding universe in 1927. Before him, there was Soviet physicist Alexander Friedmann who had originally done so in a paper in 1922 (originally published in Russian, and published in German in 1924 which was when Einstein got note of it) where he derived it from Einstein field equations from General Relativity, with the Friedmann equations as the result which postulated a dynamic universe which could expand as well as collapse. -- (talk) 19:58, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Date error ?[edit]

"In January 1933, Lemaître and Einstein, who had met on three occasions—in 1927 in Brussels, at the time of a Solvay Conference, in 1932 in Belgium, at the time of a cycle of conferences in Brussels, and in 1935 at Princeton—traveled together...". ??? I wasn't aware he also mastered time travel. Rcbutcher (talk) 09:17, 8 February 2017 (UTC)