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Unlocking James Lovelock: More than a maverick

Is the inventor of the Gaia Hypothesis really such an outsider?

By Philip Ball  

James Lovelock tinkering away in his Devon studio. Photo: Science Museum.

James Lovelock tinkering away in his laboratory at Coombe Mill. © Science Museum

If there’s one thing mavericks share in common, it’s that they contrive or refuse ever to admit that they’re wrong about anything. By this measure, the title of the new exhibition at the Science Museum in London–Unlocking Lovelock: Scientist, Inventor, Maverick–does James Lovelock, the father of the Gaia Hypothesis, a disservice. Cooked up with microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, the controversial Gaia hypothesis posited that both organic beings and inorganic components of the Earth have evolved together…

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