Born in Belgium on July 17, 1894, Monsignor Lemaître, before becoming a priest, volunteered to serve in the Belgian army during WWI. Upon completion of his military assignment, Lemaître returned to Belgium as the recipient of the Military Cross and began a program of studies for the priesthood and doctorate in mathematics and physics. After his ordination and successful completion of his doctoral studies, in 1930 Monsignor Lemaître proposed his theory of "the Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of creation." Fred Hoyle, a British astronomer and critical of Lemaître's theory, pejoratively referred to this exploding egg as the Big Bang.
In a nutshell: the Big Bang Theory proposes that the universe began with the incomprehensible and unimaginable explosion of an atomic nucleus that contained all the matter that comprises the universe today. Before the explosion there was nothing. During and after the explosion there was our universe. As Lemaître once described it, "A day without yesterday." In 1966, shortly after having learned of the discovery of cosmic background radiation- a detection which added validation to his cosmic theory - Monsignor Lemaître died on June 28 of that year.
Since then many discoveries has solidified the proposition made by this scientists and man of God. To this day, the "exploding primeval atom", the "day without a yesterday", stands as the most likely and scientifically supported theory of universal origins in all of cosmology. The discoveries made by the COBE and WMAP devices add more missing pieces and greater clarity to what Monsignor Lemaître proposed over seventy years ago. In his honor, there is a crater on the moon named after him, and in 2005 he was voted as one of the top 100 Belgians of all time by Flemish and French constituencies.