Archive for Flemish

An Interview with Georges Lemaître

Posted in History, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on February 8, 2023 by telescoper

This fascinating video surfaced recently after having been lost for decades. It’s an interview with Georges Lemaître who, along with Alexander Friedmann, is regarded as one of the originators of the Big Bang theory. Lemaître first derived the “Hubble’s law”, now officially called the Hubble–Lemaître law after a vote by members of the International Astronomical Union in 2018, by the IAU and published the first estimation of the Hubble constant in 1927, two years before Hubble’s article on the subject.

Lemaître is such an important figure in the development of modern cosmology that he was given his own Google Doodle in 2018:

The interview was recorded in 1964, just a couple of years before Lemaître’s death in 1966. It was broadcast by Belgische Radio- en Televisieomroep (BRT), the then name of the national public-service broadcaster for the Flemish Community of Belgium (now VRT). Lemaître speaks in French, with Flemish subtitles (which I didn’t find helpful), but I found I could get most of what he is saying using my schoolboy French. Anyway, it’s a fascinating document as it is I think the only existing recording of a long interview with this undoubtedly important figure in the history of cosmology.

As you can see, if you want to watch the video you have to click through to YouTube:

UPDATE: A transcript of this interview in French along with a translation into English can be found here.