Thursday, June 22, 2006


Father Georges Lemaitre, mathematician, physicist, and diocesan Roman Catholic priest, is generally considered to be the father of the cosmic "Big Bang "theory. This informative TCS article suggests that he had admirably sane attitudes about the relations between science and religion too-- sometimes ones unexpected by his colleagues.

"Back in the early 1930s, the Nobel Laureate Paul Michael Dirac had a chance to discuss the expanding universe with Lemaître. Dirac was an atheist, and yet later he recalled, "When I was talking with Lemaître about this subject and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However Lemaître did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion."

"This is fascinating, not because Dirac was an atheist and feeling mystical stirrings when he contemplated the cosmos, but because Lemaitre was a priest -- and he did not."


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