Earth and Space

Cosmic analogies

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

The Belgian Jesuit priest, Georges Lemaître, is credited with proposing the idea of the expanding universe. Lemaître used the analogies of a ‘cosmic egg’ and a ‘primordial atom’ to illustrate his ideas. In 1949, Fred Hoyle was invited to speak on the BBC Third Programme (the fore-runner of Radio 3) and, in making his argument for continuous creation of the universe, coined the term Big Bang. In his model of the expanding universe, Hoyle argued that “in a volume equal to a one-pint milk bottle, about one atom is created in a thousand million years”.


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