The Day Without Yesterday: Lemaître, Einstein, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology
by John Farrell
Thunders Mouth Press, 2005
(262 pages, $24.95, hardcover)
reviewed by Guillermo Gonzalez & Jay W. Richards
Can a priest be a first-rate scientist? Doesn’t religion dull one’s scientific acumen, destroy one’s objectivity, and bind one to espouse unscientific doctrines? Such, at least, is the caricature. But in reality, most of the founders of modern science were Christians—a fact known to most science historians if not to science textbook writers.
So it should not be surprising to find that the first modern cosmologist, Georges Lemaître, was also a priest. And yet the false caricature probably explains why this book is the first biography of Lemaître, though he died forty years ago—an astonishing omission, since he hardly fits anyone’s stereotype.
The Day Without Yesterday is a mix of history, cosmology, and theology—topics that must be included if the reader is to understand Lemaître’s discoveries and beliefs. The book, an easy read, lacks equations but includes historical and technical illustrations and even a glossary. We would recommend it to anyone interested in religion and the history of modern cosmology.