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Everyday science

Knitting the universe, astronomers to vote on ‘Hubble-Lemaître law’

07 Sep 2018 Hamish Johnston
Knitted universe
Out of this world: a knitted map of the stars. (Courtesy: Sarah Spencer)

Sarah Spencer, a software engineer from Australia, has knitted a huge map of the sky by reprogramming a 1980s vintage knitting machine. “As a woman in tech, I wanted to create something which would engage young minds in an area of STEM,” she told Chelsea Gohd, of There is much more in Gohd’s article “Software engineer hacks a knitting machine to create massive stellar map”.

Should the Hubble law be renamed the Hubble-Lemaître law to honour the contribution of the Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître to our understanding of the expanding universe? That will be the subject of an electronic vote by members of the International Astronomical Union, as Krzysztof Bolejko of the University of Sydney explains in The Conversation: “Game-changing resolution: whose name on the laws of physics for an expanding universe?”.

Born in 1894, Lemaître was a Catholic priest who taught at the Catholic University of Leuven. As Bolejko explains, he published a paper on the expanding universe in 1927 – before Hubble and others. The paper was originally in French, and because of a decision made by Lemaître when it was translated to English, his contribution was overlooked for years.

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