Gaia hypothesis creator and ozone hole discoverer dies on his birthday

Jams Lovelock - Image cc Bruno Comby

James Lovelock, Gaia hypothesis creator and one of the UK’s most respected scientists, has died on his 103rd birthday.

A statement released by his family on Wednesday, July 27 said that: “Our beloved James Lovelock died yesterday in his home surrounded by his family on his 103rd birthday.

“To the world, he was best known as a scientific pioneer, climate prophet and conceiver of the Gaia theory.

“To us, he was a loving husband and wonderful father with a boundless sense of curiosity, a mischievous sense of humour and a passion for nature.

“Up until six months ago he was still able to walk along the coast near his home in Dorset and take part in interviews, but his health deteriorated after a bad fall earlier this year.

“He passed away at 9.55 pm of complications related to the fall. The funeral will be private. There will be a public memorial service later. The family requests privacy at this time.”

The death of Lovelock, who came up with the Gaia theory that Earth constantly works to keep itself in balance, comes at a time when global warming has become one of the most heated topics.

An inventor as well as a scientist, Lovelock was the first scientist to detect the widespread presence of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) in the atmosphere and to link their presence with damage to the ozone layer.

That finding led to major changes in the manufacture of refrigerants, aerosols and solvents.

It was working as a consultant to NASA, where he worked on their planetary exploration program that led to his creation of the Gaia thesis.

Possibly on a par with Darwin in terms of the importance of his theory, Lovelock said that all living organisms interact with each other and their surroundings to form a self-regulating system.

Lovelock was, however, not without controversy upsetting environmentalists by suggesting in 2004 that “only nuclear power can now halt global warming“. In later interviews, he said:: “I am a Green, and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy.”

The creator of the Gaia hypothesis James Lovelock is survived by his wife, Sandra, his daughters Christine and Jane and his sons Andrew and John.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at