Event Details

Location: Chicago, IL

Prof. Jonathan Lunine of Cornell will lecture.

Georges Lemaître was a Belgian Catholic priest and cosmologist who proposed what came to be known as the “Big Bang” model of the origin of the cosmos. What is less well known is that Lemaître also discovered and published Hubble’s law, the first observational basis for the expansion of the universe, in 1927–well before Edwin Hubble did. Lemaître also considered Einstein’s cosmological constant as a vacuum energy, in a remarkably prescient paper in 1933, foreshadowing work that would be done a half century later. And yet Lemaître is less well known as a pioneering cosmologist than he is as a chimeric figure who had both a scientific and religious career—and thus has been treated by science historians differently from other scientists. In this talk Lunine will argue that (1) Lemaître’s science was no different on account of him being a Catholic priest and (2) renaming the “Hubble law” the “Hubble-Lemaître law” (resolution B4 2018 of the International Astronomical Union) is a reasonable solution to the dilemma posed by history’s treatment of the Belgian cosmologist.

Date: Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Lumen Christi Institute
Kent 107
University of Chicago
1220 E 58th Street
Chicago, IL  60637

Time: 7:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Register at http://www.lumenchristi.org/.

Questions? Contact: David Skelding at 1-708-275-9339

Jonathan I. Lunine is David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences at Cornell University and Director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science. He earned his PhD in planetary science from Caltech in 1985. Lunine researches astrophysics, planetary science, and astrobiology. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Jean Dominique Cassini Medal of the European Geosciences Union (2015) and the Basic Sciences Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (2009). He is the author of Earth: Astrobiology, A Multidisciplinary Approach (Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2005) and Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World (2nd ed., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013).