Homage to Gaia

Homage to Gaia : The Life of an Independent Scientist

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James Lovelock tells the story of his life as an independent scientist and how he came to develop his inventions and theories. He has filed more than 50 patents, including one for the electron capture detector which played a role in the development of environmental awareness, in connection with both the detection of pesticide residues in the environment and the discovery of the global distribution of CFCs. He also tells us about the work he has done for organizations such as NASA, the Ministry of Defence, The Marine Biological Association, and many companies such as Shell, and Hewlett Packard. From his childhood days in East London to a job as a lab assistant - his first crucial steps to becoming a scientist, from chemistry at Manchester University to the Medical Research Council during World War II, his voyage to the Arctic, taking his family to America, returning to England and fighting to save the ozone layer, his quest for Gaia, then into the nineties and a stream of awards, including a CBE from the Queen, James Lovelock has lead a fulfilling life and has been widely recognised by the international scientific community.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 38.1mm | 839.14g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16 b&w plates
  • 0192862138
  • 9780192862136

About James Lovelock

James Lovelock is an independent scientist, inventor, and author. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974 and in 1975 received the Tswett Medal for Chromatography. In 1988 he was a recipient of the Norbert Gerbier Prize of the World Meteorological Organization, and in 1990 was awarded the first Amsterdam Prize for the Environment by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Further awards include the Nonino Prize and the Volvo Environment Prize in 1996, and Japan's Blue planet prize in 1997. Her Majesty the Queen made him a CBE in 1990. One of his inventions is the electron capture detector, which was important in the development of environmental awareness. It revealed for the first time the ubiquitous distribution of pesticide residues. He co-operated with NASA and some of his inventions were adopted in their programme of planetary exploration.show more

Review Text

Lovelock is one of the most influential scientists of the modern age, and this eloquent book is a testament to his astonishing range of achievement and influence. Often hailed as the inventor of the microwave oven, Lovelock's most famous achievements include the invention of a device for detecting CFC's in the atmosphere and thereby creating the Green movement. But it is his concept of Gaia that is generally considered to be one of the most resonant theories for understanding our planet as it enters the new millennium. Lovelock's theory identifies the Earth as a self-regulating planet with the organic relationship between the ability of life forms to reproduce themselves ensuring the overall well-being of the planet. Needless to say, the theory is highly controversial, (evolutionary biologists take great exception to it), but this completely unputdownable manuscript lays out the dramatic steps by which Lovelock arrived at his views as well as his creation of the computer model called Daisyworld. The latter explains the Earth's self-regulating process utilizing black and white daisies in its data: a concept which, like so much in Lovelock's work, manages to combine the poetic and the scientific. Following the author on this remarkable journey also takes the reader through his experiences working for Nasa in the 1960s and 70s on lunar and planetary science programmes, as well as his significant work on the ozone layer issue (some consider the letter to be his most important contribution to scientific theory). A quite fascinating journey through a remarkable mind. (Kirkus UK)show more

Table of contents

1: Childhood. 2: The Long Apprenticeship. 3: Twenty years of Medical Research. 4: The Mill Hill Institute. 5: The First Steps to Independence at Houston, Texas. 6: The Independent Practice of Science. 7: The ECD. 8: The Ozone War. 9: The Quest for Gaia. 10: The Practical Side of Independent Science. 11: Building Your Own Bypass. 12: Three Score Years and Ten and then the Fun Begins. 13: Epilogue. Acknowledgementsshow more

Review quote

"there is much more than science in this book ... This is ultimately an uplifting book about the way life ought to be, both at a personal and at a global level, and a strong contender for science book of the year."--Sunday Timesshow more

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41 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
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4 46% (19)
3 17% (7)
2 2% (1)
1 2% (1)
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