GCSE Astronomy - Hubble's Law is now the Hubble-Lemaître Law

In October this year, the International Astronomical Union officially changed the title of Hubble’s Law to the Hubble-Lemaître Law. This at last honours Georges Lemaître, the Belgian astrophysicist who has been recognised as the first person to publish (two years before Hubble) that the expanding universe creates the effect that the further a galaxy is away from us, the faster it moves away from us.

Georges Lemaître - also a Catholic priest

Georges Lemaître - also a Catholic priest

Lemaître wrote out his findings in an obscure journal written in French in 1927 - and this was why it was not seen at the time. He recorded his formula as:-

Velocity of galaxy = Universal Constant x Distance of galaxy away

v = C x D

These days we see the formula written as v = H D

(where the Universal Constant is known as the Hubble Constant)

Lemaître was very modest and only sought to see the advancement of science. He was not at all bothered that Hubble took all the credit. Amazingly, Lemaître pointed out in 1931 that he saw the universe starting from a single quantum state - the forerunner to the idea of a Big Bang.

Quite a scientist! At last he has the recognition that he deserves.

David Martin