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Unlocking Lovelock: Scientist, Inventor, Maverick

This exhibition delved into the archives of James Lovelock, one of Britain’s most important living scientists and inventors.

Featuring previously unseen materials acquired by the Science Museum, the exhibition gives a unique insight into Lovelock’s creative mind, personality and unconventional ideas. Revealing items from his personal archive, the exhibition explored Lovelock's unconventional career path and the development of his ideas in scientific fields as diverse as medicine, environmental science, atmospheric chemistry and space exploration.

Lovelock is most famous for formulating the Gaia hypothesis—the idea that Earth is a self-regulating system. This theory has been both hugely influential and controversial. It has profoundly shaped how environmental scientists view issues such as climate change and loss of biodiversity.

Among the highlights of the exhibition were Lovelock’s laboratory notebooks, drafts of his papers, and equipment from the laboratory in his back garden. Visitors could also examine the tools used by Lovelock to build many of his inventions, including the home-made gas chromatography equipment that journeyed to the Antarctic and back.

Lovelock in his own words

The Lovelock archive was acquired for the Science Museum with support from a number of generous individuals, corporations and charitable foundations.

Unlocking Lovelock: Scientist, Inventor, Maverick was funded as part of the Climate Changing Programme with thanks to:

Principal Sponsors

Shell logo
Siemens logo

Major sponsor

Bank of America

Major funder

The Weston Garfield Foundation

With additional support from

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
The Patrons of the Science Museum
Members of the Founders Circle: Climate Changing Programme