Georges Lema\^itre: Life, Science and Legacy
Physics - History and Philosophy of Physics
This paper celebrates the remarkable life, science and legacy of Abb\'e Georges Lema\^itre, the Belgian cleric and professor of physics; he was the architect of the fireworks model for the origin of the universe. He died half a century ago, three days after learning that Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson had discovered the cosmic microwave background. Despite being gravely ill from leukaemia, Lema\^itre lucidly praised this news, which confirmed the explosive genesis of our universe.