Thursday, April 15, 2010

James Lovelock profile BBC4

If you didn't see the James Lovelock profile on BBC4 last night then I really recommend it (click here to see it on iPlayer - I don't think it's available outside the UK).

The man is a true genius - without his detection device, we would never have seen the issue of persistent pesticides or traced CFCs as the cause of the hole in the ozone layer. The realisation that life on Mars would change the planet's atmosphere, so you didn't actually have to go there to catch something living to prove/disprove its existence, led to his Gaia theory - probably the most misunderstood scientific theory in history as most conflate it with the tree-huggers who, erm, embraced it. Gaia was held up in this programme as being as important as the theory of evolution. Virtually all this work was done outside the mainstream academic system - a true maverick genius.

The real star was the 90 year old Lovelock himself who told his story with good humour. As another contributor put it, "Jim thinks outside the box so easily, because he doesn't see the box." Brilliant stuff all round.

Btw you can see my profile of Lovelock on Green Gurus here.

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