Writing Gaia review: The letters of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis

Nearly forty years of letters between the two scientists who co-developed the paradigm-changing Gaia hypothesis make for fascinating, humanising reading

Humans 24 August 2022

A4GTM3 Author, ecologist, inventor and scientist Professor James Lovelock in his laboratory at home on the Devon Cornwall border UK.. Image shot 2004. Exact date unknown.

James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis corresponded for nearly 40 years.

Tim Cuff/Alamy

Writing Gaia

Edited by Bruce Clarke and Sébastien Dutreuil

Cambridge University Press

HERE’S something for the archive: “The New Scientist one seems to have stirred up some interest including an amazing number of crank letters of a gentle and non-aggressive kind,” wrote the late independent scientist and polymath James Lovelock, in a letter to biologist Lynn Margulis.

The “cranks” were responding to an article in this magazine, dated 6 February 1975. In it, Lovelock presented the idea and world view of Earth as a self-regulating system, the Gaia hypothesis, to a wider …

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