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Machines Like Us

James Lovelock

James Lovelock is an independent scientist, author, researcher and environmentalist who is most famous for proposing and popularizing the controversial Gaia hypothesis, in which he postulates that the Earth functions as a kind of superorganism. In 1948 he received a Ph.D. in medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Within the United States he has conducted research at Yale, Baylor University College of Medicine, and Harvard University. A lifelong inventor, Lovelock has created and developed many scientific instruments. In early 1961, Lovelock was engaged 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, and many of the sensors and experiments that were ultimately deployed aimed to resolve this issue. During work towards this program, Lovelock became interested in the composition of the Martian atmosphere, reasoning that any lifeforms on Mars would be obliged to make use of it (and, thus, alter it). However, the atmosphere was found to be in a stable condition close to its chemical equilibrium, with very little oxygen, methane or hydrogen, but with an overwheming abundance of carbon dioxide. To Lovelock, the stark contrast between the Martian atmosphere and chemically-dynamic mixture of that of the Earth was strongly indicative of the absence of life on Mars. His books describing his Gaia theory include Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Planet, Gaia: The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine, and The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back - and How We Can Still Save Humanity.

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James Lovelock Quotes

A billion could live off the earth; 6 billion living as we do is far too many, and you run out of planet in no time.

All big organizations are mostly run by technologists now, they're not run by crafty old buggers who manipulate, though there are some of those around.

All good inventions come from war, all the parts of aircrafts were accelerated enormously in the time of war, and nuclear energy is another one; nobody would have invented that.