(b. 1919)A British chemist, biophysicist, inventor, and principal author of the Gaia hypothesis
, the development of which began in the 1960s, while he was working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
, designing instruments in connection with the NASA lunar and Mars programmes. Earlier he invented the electron capture detector, an instrument capable of measuring extremely small amounts of substances (e.g. pesticide residues, methyl mercury, tetraethyl lead, polychlorinated biphenyls
(CFCs), and nitrous oxide
) in the natural environment. During the 1972–3 voyage of the research ship Shackleton
, Lovelock used the electron capture detector to discover the global distribution of CFCs, dimethyl sulphide, methyl iodide, and carbon disulphide. In collaboration with R. J. Charlson, M. O. Andreae, and S. G. Warren, he hypothesized a link between marine algae and cloud formation that is now accepted by meteorologists and for which the four were awarded the Norbert Gerbier Prize and Medal of the World Meteorological Organization
in 1988. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
in 1974 and received a CBE in 1989. For his contributions to environmental science Lovelock was awarded the Amsterdam Prize of the Netherlands Royal Academy in 1990. From 1987 to 1991 he was president of the Marine Biological Association.