Skip navigation

University College Dublin Logo

Advanced Search

UCD News

Nuacht UCD

Posted 29 April 2009

The vanishing face of Gaia – James Lovelock at UCD

James Lovelock, the British scientist often referred to as ‘the prophet of climate change’ recently took part in a public conversation with UCD Professor Frank Convery, Director of the UCD Earth Institute, in front of an audience of more than 600 people at O’Reilly Hall, UCD.

Lovelock, who is 90 this year, invented the electron capture detector for gas chromatography, an instrument which has been central to several environmental discoveries and helped to kick-start the environmental movement in the 1970s. Lovelock himself applied the technique to chart the presence of CFCs in the atmosphere – work which prompted the discoveries by Rowland and Molina of the harmful effects of CFCs on the ozone layer which won them the Nobel Prize in 1997.

Lovelock is the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis (now Gaia Theory) which sees planet earth and the life it sustains as one single complex system. He is the author of more than 200 scientific papers. His popular scientific books include: Gaia - A New Look at Life on Earth; The Ages of Gaia and Gaia: The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine; his autobiography, Homage to Gaia; The Revenge of Gaia; and The Vanishing Face of Gaia – A Final Warning (2009).

In 2003, Lovelock was made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty the Queen of England. And in 2005, he was named as one of the world's top 100 global public intellectuals by Prospect magazine.

“We should regard nuclear energy as something that could be available from new power stations in five years and could see us through the troubled times ahead when the climate changes and there are shortages of food and fuel and major demographic changes,” says Lovelock in his latest book The Vanishing Face of Gaia – A Final Warning (Penguin 2009).

According to Lovelock, Global Warming is irreversible and billions of people will perish by the end of this century.

James Lovelock in conversation with Prof Frank Convery, Director, UCD Earth Institute


James Lovelock’s public lecture at University College Dublin was part of the John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies public lecture series curated under the general rubric of “Communication, knowledge and the citizen in the global environment”. The series, supported by Denis O’Brien and the Communicorp Group, is intended to provoke public interest, engagement and debate on a number of themes implicit in the rapid transformation of and access to the communication and transmission of knowledge.

>> More News and Events
<< Back to Home

The vanishing face of Gaia – James Lovelock at UCD