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James Lovelock

Gaia, 1979

Photograph of James LovelockAbout the Author

James Lovelock (born 1919) is an independent scientist, environmentalist, author and researcher and an influential figure in the history of the environmental movement.

Lovelock was born on 26 July 1919 in Letchworth Garden City in the UK. He graduated as a chemist from Manchester University in 1941 and in 1948 received a PhD in medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 1959 he received a DSc degree in biophysics from London University. In the United States he has taught at Yale, the Baylor University College of Medicine, and at Harvard University. He also holds honorary doctorates from several universities throughout the world.

Among Lovelock’s early scientific work was for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Lunar and Planetary Research. Since 1964 he has conducted an independent practice in science, although continuing honorary academic associations as a visiting professor, first at the University of Houston and then at the University of Reading in the UK. Since 1982 he has been associated with the Marine Biological Association at Plymouth, first as a council member, and from 1986 to 1990 as its president.

Most famously, Lovelock is the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis (now Gaia Theory) and has written five books on the subject. He is at present an Honorary Visiting Fellow of Green College, Oxford University, and was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1990.

Top 10 Ideas

Download James Lovelock's Top 10 Ideas from the interview.

Interview Transcript

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James Lovelock: Part 1, The Gaia Hypothesis

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about the Gaia hypothesis with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 2, The Curse of Complexity

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about the curse of complexity with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 3, Impacts on the Planet

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about the impacts on the planet with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 4, Technological Solutions

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about technological solutions with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 5, The Role of Business and Government

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about the role of business and government with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 6, How Gaia and Humanity will Adapt

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about how Gaia and humanity will adapt with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 7, The Psychology of Change

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about the psychology of change with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 8, The Role of Science

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about the role of science with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 9, Revisiting Daisy World

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about revisiting Daisy World with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 10, Sources of Inspiration and the IPCC

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about sources of inspiration and the IPCC with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

James Lovelock: Part 11, China and Hope for the Future

In this video, James Lovelock, author of Gaia (1979), one of the most influential books on sustainability, talks about China and hope for the future with Senior Associate Wayne Visser, on 16 September 2008. The interview was part of the Cambridge Top 50 Sustainability Books Project.

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Other Books (Selection)

The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth (W.W. Norton, 1988)

Gaia: The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine (Gaia Books, 2000)

Homage to Gaia: The Life of an Independent Scientist (Oxford University Press, 2000)

The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth is Fighting Back – and How We Can Still Save Humanity (Basic Books, 2006)

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