The influential scientist talks about his Earth-as-superorganism hypothesis and predicts a new era for humanity, unfettered by the constraints of our bodies

Earth 24 July 2019
James Lovelock
Dawn of a new age: James Lovelock at 100

Photographed by David Stock for New Scientist

JAMES LOVELOCK turns 100 this July. One of the most influential scientists of our time, he worked for the British government during the second world war and later for NASA on the Mars Viking mission. It was then that he was inspired to develop the Gaia hypothesis, the idea that Earth is a massively interconnected, self-regulating system. His new book, Novacene: The coming age of hyperintelligence, argues that the Anthropocene era of human influence over the planet is coming to an end and that an age of superintelligent beings is about to begin.

Thanks for the coffee and, er, the saucer of ice…

That’s to make it drinkable. A chunk of ice cools the coffee 80 times more effectively than the equivalent volume of water at 0 degrees.

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Ever the scientist. How did your interest in science and problem-solving start?

Well, my dad was a hunter-gatherer and that’s where I learned my ecology. He used to take me for walks and knew the nesting places of all the birds, and the names and homes of all the animals, plants and insects. He gave me training in the environment.

A British hunter-gatherer? You aren’t that old! But did that training make you an environmentalist?

No! That immediately makes me think of a city-based academic type of person who has strong views on how things ought to be. I am a much more laid-back person who just takes the world as it comes. I …

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View Article Here New Scientist – Earth