James Lovelock

James Lovelock : independent scientist, environmentalist, author and researcher, Doctor Honoris Causa of several universities throughout the world, he is considered since several decades as a one of the main ideological leaders, if not the main one, in the history of the development of environmental awareness. James Lovelock is still today one of the main authors in the environmental field. He is the author of "The GaiaTheory", and "The Ages of Gaia", which consider the planet Earth as a self-regulated living being, as well as, more recently his "Homage to GAIA", an autobiography published in September 2000.

James Lovelock is in favor of the use of clean nuclear energy, respectful of the environment : read the introduction of James Lovelock to the book "Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy". He supports the Association of Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy (EFN).

James Ephraim Lovelock (born July 26, 1919) is an independent scientist, author, researcher and environmentalist who lives in England. He is most famous for proposing and popularizing the Gaia Hypothesis, in which he postulates that the Earth functions as a kind of superorganism. He studied chemistry at Manchester University before taking up a Medical Research Council post at the Institute for Medical Research in London. In 1948 he received a Ph.D. in medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Within the United States he has taught at Yale, Baylor University College of Medicine, and Harvard University.

A lifelong inventor, some of his inventions were adopted by NASA in their program of planetary exploration. It was while working for NASA that Lovelock developed the Gaia Hypothesis. Lovelock is currently president of the Marine Biological Association, was elected a FRS in 1974, and in 1990 was awarded the first Amsterdam Prize for the Environment by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr James Lovelock, in looking for the evidence of extra-terrestrial life on Mars, observed the Earth as might an extra-terrestrial, and began to formulate a method of explanation as to why the Earth appeared therefore to be not so much a planet adorned with diverse life forms, but a planet which had been transfigured and transformed by a self-evolving and self-regulating living system. In view of the nature of this activity, Earth seemed to qualify as a living being its own right. And so the hypothesis took its initial form. And as the story goes, while on a walk in the countryside about his home in Wilshire, England, Lovelock described his hypothesis to his neighbor William Golding (the novelist - eg: Lord of the Flies), and asked advise concerning a suitable name for it. The resultant term "Gaia" - after the Greek goddess who drew the living world forth from Chaos - was chosen. However, there was a big difference between postulating such a grand schemed hypothesis and having it accepted by the traditional scientific community, and there remained much research work to be done in order to be able to more clearly specify the entirety of the processes by which the modern planetary atmosphere had been evolved and was continuing to be evolved. And in this task, in the early years of his further research concerning the Gaia Hypothesis, Lovelock was supported by the collaboration of Dr Lynn Margulis, a leading and forward thinking American microbiologist.

"The entire range of living matter on Earth from whales to viruses and from oaks to algae could be regarded as constituting a single living entity capable of maintaining the Earth's atmosphere to suit its overall needs and endowed with faculties and powers far beyond those of its constituent parts...[Gaia can be defined] as a complex entity involving the Earth's biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback of cybernetic systems which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet."

"To what extent is our collective intelligence also a part of Gaia? Do we as a species constitute a Gaian nervous system and a brain which can consciously anticipate environmental changes?"

Lovelock was among the first researchers to sound the alarm about the threat from the greenhouse effect. His opinion is that

"Only nuclear power can now halt global warming."