kids encyclopedia robot

James Lovelock facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
James Lovelock
James Lovelock in 2005.jpg
Lovelock in 2005
Born 26 July 1919 (1919-07-26) (age 101)
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Manchester
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
University of London
Harvard Medical School
Known for Electron capture detector
Gaia hypothesis
Scientific career
Fields Chemistry, Earth science
Institutions Independent researcher

James Ephraim Lovelock (born 26 July 1919) is an independent scientist who lives in Devon. He became an environmentalist and futurologist. He is best known for proposing the Gaia theory. This suggests the biosphere is a self-regulating system which keeps our planet healthy by controlling the environment.

After the development of an instrument in the late 1960s, Lovelock was the first to detect the widespread presence of CFCs in the atmosphere. He went on to measure the concentration of CFC-11 from the northern hemisphere to the Antarctic aboard the research ship RRS Shackleton.

Professional career

A lifelong inventor, Lovelock has created and developed many scientific instruments, some of which have been adopted by NASA in its program of planetary exploration. It was while working for NASA that Lovelock developed the Gaia Hypothesis.

In early 1961, Lovelock was employed by NASA to develop sensitive instruments for the analysis of extraterrestrial atmospheres and planetary surfaces. The Viking program that visited Mars in the late 1970s was motivated in part to determining whether Mars supported life. During this program, he became interested in the composition of the Martian atmosphere.

James Lovelocks Electron capture detector for a gas chromatograph, 1960. (9660569973)
Electron capture detector developed by Lovelock, and in the Science Museum, London

After the development of an instrument in the late 1960s, Lovelock was the first to detect the widespread presence of CFCs in the atmosphere. He went on to measure the concentration of CFC-11 from the northern hemisphere to the Antarctic aboard the research ship RRS Shackleton.

Lovelock is currently president of the Marine Biological Association, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974, and in 1990 was awarded the first Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for the Environment. An independent scientist, inventor, and author, he works out of a barn-turned-laboratory in Cornwall.

Images for kids

kids search engine
James Lovelock Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.