By Father Gordon J. MacRae @ These Stone Walls
FATHER GEORGES LEMAITRE
Perhaps the best example in modern science is one I tackled in my first “science post” on These Stone Walls three years ago, and used again as an encore post last week. It was about the Belgian priest, mathematician and physicist, Father Georges Lemaitre, originator of the Big Bang theory and the man who changed the mind of Albert Einstein on the true origin of the created Universe. In a brief disclaimer at the beginning of that post, I asked TSW readers to “indulge me in this few minutes of science and history.” Well, please do so again, for it’s a necessary prelude to this post. What follows will make much more sense if you’ve had another look at “A Day Without Yesterday: Father Georges Lemaitre and The Big Bang.”
At the very end of that post, there is a photograph of Father Lemaitre with Albert Einstein who once told Father Lemaitre in response to his theory about the Big Bang, “Your math is perfect, but your physics is abominable.” Six years later, in 1933, Einstein declared that his own “Cosmological Constant” – his theory that the Universe always existed – was his greatest error, and he called Father Lemaitre’s work “the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation I have ever heard.” For Einstein to use the “C” word – Creation – was a pivotal moment in modern science.
The story of Fr. Lemaitre’s role in modern cosmology was often stifled by science because he was a Catholic priest. Today, it is told well in How It Began: A Time Traveler’s Guide to the Universe by Chris Impey (Norton 2012), a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Something astonishing happened after I wrote “A Day Without Yesterday.”
I first mentioned my friend, Pierre Matthews, a TSW reader from Belgium who has visited me several times in prison, in my post, “Saints Alive! Padre Pio and the Stigmata.” It described Pierre’s encounter with Padre Pio when he visited San Giovanni Rotondo as a teenager in 1954. It was like a bolt of lightning to know that there are but two degrees of separation between me and Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, one of the patrons of These Stone Walls. Pierre is also Pornchai Moontri’s Godfather... (continued)