James Lovelock (1919-)

English chemist, medical researcher and inventor. Born on 26 July 1919 in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire.

In 1941 Lovelock graduated from Manchester University with a degree in chemistry. He then took a post with the Medical Research Council at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), London. In 1948 he received a PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Lovelock remained at the NIMR until 1961, when he moved to America to become Professor of Chemistry at Baylor University College of Medicine, Texas. From 1964 Lovelock has worked as an independent scientist.

He is most famous for developing the Gaia Hypothesis, in which he proposes the Earth as whole living organism, and has authored several books on the subject. He has patented many inventions, the best known of which is his ‘electron capture detector’. Lovelock has also worked with NASA on their planetary exploration program.

Lovelock has made significant contributions to the fields of medicine, biology, instrument science and geophysiology. In 1974 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1990 he was made a CBE. Lovelock now lives in Cornwall, where he served as President of the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth from 1986 to 1990, and is now Vice President.