August 11, 2022

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James Lovelock, Creative Scientist Matted (and Criticized): He called Earth ‘Gaia’ and got it right

left at 103 James Lovelock, the scientist who will be remembered for proposing the name “Gaia” for the terrestrial ecosystem. There are many types of scholars: some of them are collectors who collect facts as if they were postage stamps. Others are theorists who spend their lives building castles in the air that never touch the real world. Others spend their lives criticizing, and many see science as a competition to prove that they are smarter than others. Lovelock was inother categoryShe never wrote an equation, never worried about cheap quarrels between scientists, and never even used a university or research institute. He was creative, someone who was not afraid to build tools even on his own, a feature of creative people who often combine manual and mental skills. Lovelock was part of a tradition Great creative scientists from the past: Charles Darwin with the Theory of Evolution, Alfred Wegener with Continental Drift, Lynne Margulies with the Holobiont Concept, and a few others.

It must be said that for the world, being creative full of dangers. The creator strives for the perfect combination of data and intuition, and he does not always succeed. Insight without data is nonsense, while data without vision is a phone book. But Lovelock got it right right mix With the idea of ​​Gaia. Like all creators, from Newton on, Lovelock raised himself on the shoulders of giants, taking from them what he needed to create. Lynne Margulies and William Golding are equally responsible for the idea of ​​”gaia” in the sense of a terrestrial ecosystem. But Lovelock was a ram, launching the idea as early as 1972, after studying data coming from the first probes that landed on Mars. At first, Lovelock idea He was only partially correct, but his basic hunch, that oxygen is the “signature” of biological life’s existence, was correct.

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As it always happens, in science original and innovative ideas tend to get hung up sharply beyond the need for appropriate verification. Lovelock’s idea was mystical, “New Age”, marijuana-smoking hippies, that sort of thing. More importantly, he went straight against dominant model At the time, that of “neo-Darwinism”, which held that an ecosystem is the result of natural selection strictly at the level of competition between single organisms. You can imagine a file controversy that came out. Even today, we should use the term “Gaia hypothesis” officially, under pain of being mistreated by defenders of orthodoxy. However, perhaps unexpectedly, Lovelock’s idea of ​​”Gaya” has not been entirely put down, despite a crossfire between critics.

That’s because the idea of ​​Jaya Basic To understand how at least something as fragile as biological life can exist on Earth Three billion years. It was not by chance, but because of the system’s self-regulating capabilities that allowed it to survive the various disasters that struck Earth during such a long period. “Gaia” remains a central idea of ​​science today, and continues to be a source of new ideas, new insights, and new discoveries. Goddess Gaia was kind to James Lovelock who Leaving today after a long life, full of business and satisfaction. Rest in peace in the arms of the earth.