A man of culture

Lemaître… a musician at heart

Georges et Gilbert Lemaître sur une motocyclette

A close tie united him to with his nephew Gilbert Lemaître, his brother Maurice's son. Partly raised by Georges's mother, Gilbert also shared properly scientific interests with his uncle. A Data processing specialist, he worked with him in the 1960s in developing Velocode, a new computer programming language. 

Georges Lemaître had a passion for music. He played the piano all his life and until the 1960s took private lessons to maintain his level. He also listened to music, at concerts and at home: we have the invoice for a radio bought at Orpheus. When Hubert Reeves, passing through Belgium and giving some lectures at ULB, decided to stop by at Lemaître's, the two scientists spent more time playing together than they did talking about science. He certainly got his taste for music and his vast musical culture from his family. Following his parents' example, Lemaître too transmitted his love for music to those around him. To his nephews and nieces first of all: mainly to Odette Lemaître with whom he went to a concert proposing a Beethoven violin concerto and, perhaps, also to Gilbert Lemaître, who inherited his piano. Gilbert affirms that his uncle “played powerfully”.

He performed the works of Chopin, Messiaen, Beethoven and Bach… and was also interested in Belgian composers like César Franck, owning a score ofL’Organiste.

Played and replayed, as the state of the score shows. Music too was not that far removed from his mathematical research. This is seen in the typography and structuring of the notes on the staves, which in their form prove to be close to those of Lemaître's “new” figures.

The theatre against all odds

Lemaître was also quite fond of the theatre. He appreciated the performing arts and often attended performances. That moreover led to conflicts with his hierarchy, for clerics were in fact forbidden from going to the theatre, something he found hard to accept as the correspondence he exchanged with the Mechelen Archbishopric in 1944 attests.