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Martin told Lovelock if he wanted the sample analysed then he would have to invent a better detector: and so he did.

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Soon after this invention, Lovelock was picked up by the Nasa space programme where he was part of a team looking for life on Mars. Lovelock instantly got off to a bad start by openly criticising the work of the other scientists looking for life. Such was their disapproval that on a Tuesday morning Lovelock was hauled in front of a Nasa director, who told him that if he wanted to keep his job he would have to come up with a practical solution to finding life on Mars… by Friday.

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Throughout the talk, Lovelock referred to necessity as the mother of invention. It is a statement that has held true all through his life and this time was no different. He proposed that in order to find life, all you had to do was measure the composition of the atmosphere and look for a reduction in entropy.

If its atmosphere is in equilibrium, there can be no life. Lovelock was shown to be right that there was no life on Mars, yet his observations about the red planet had started to influence his thinking about planet Earth, where life thrives. This was the start of Gaia hypothesis.

A Rough Ride to the Future, by James Lovelock

Lovelock observed, whilst looking at Earth, that the oxygen content must be regulated; if life can regulate the atmosphere, it must regulate the climate, so Earth must be a self-regulating system. Initially his observations were attacked by some eminent deniers, including Richard Dawkins. The talk was absolutely fascinating and I would urge you to visit the Unlocking Lovelock exhibit. At the age of 94, his talk was punctuated with humour and highly interesting asides, yet he also possesses a steely determination.


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He is well-known in the media for his views on the catastrophic effects that climate change will have on population and food security; he has also been vocal about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC and, in his eyes, the politicisation of climate science. However, what really struck me about the evening was that, as I watched this remarkable scientist take the audience through his life and work, his thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm to understand the world is contagious. We now live in a time where information is driving huge advances, where data holds the tools needed for change.

We at Carbon Credentials are using this data to make informed decisions about how to help our clients tackle their energy consumption, carbon emissions and overcome compliance risk.

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This is an exciting time to be involved in data, especially sustainability data, and although there is a long way to go, our innovative services and insights are making a real difference. Phil Warren is a data analyst at Carbon Credentials, on whose blog this article originally appeared. For more details, see here. All consuming: the real problem is what we do. Building a sustainable global economy.

A Rough Ride to the Future [Hardcover]

Climate change? Yet it is possible that chemistry lags behind the other sciences in outreach. As a science writer, and editor of this website, I believe that chemistry is under-represented in popular science. I'd like to establish if this is the case, if so why it is happening - and what can be done to change things. An easy straw poll is provided by the topic tags on the site.

A Rough Ride To The Future by James Lovelock - Penguin Books Australia

At the time of writing, there are 22 books under 'chemistry' as opposed to 97 maths, biology and physics. The distribution is inevitably influenced by editorial bias - but as the editor, I can confirm …. Read more. August 26, Theoretical physics has taken something of a hammering lately with books such as Sabine Hossenfelder's Lost in Math.

The suggestion from these earlier titles is that theoretical physics is so obsessed with mathematics that many theoretical physicists spend their careers working on theory that doesn't actually apply to the universe, because the maths is interesting. Even experimental physics can be tainted, as the driver for new expenditure in experiments, such as the proposed new collider at CERN, is not driven by discoveries but by these mathematically-directed theories.

Graham Farmelo presents the opposite view here: that this speculative mathematical work is, in fact, a great success. As I am very much in the Hossenfelder camp, I expected to find Farmelo's book rather irritating, as it's effectively a love letter to mathematically-obsessed theoretical physics - but in reality an entertaining phrase, given the context I found it both interesting and enjoyable.

August 28, How we see the world is not the way it really is. There have been several books based on this premise in the last few years, from Hans Rosling's impressive Factfulness to the distinctly fanciful The Case Against Reality by Donald Hoffman. In The Perils of Perception , Bobby Duffy takes an approach that is similar to Rosling's in surveying large numbers of people in different countries in fact, one chapter of the book specifically references Rosling , but rather than concentrate as Rosling does on the specific topic of development, Duffy takes a much wider sweep of coverage of our perceptions of our world - and just like Rosling finds that most of us are way off on our appreciation of how things really are.

Whether we're dealing with politics and immigration, finance, climate change, sex or crime, Duffy shows that the majority of people tend to get things wrong.


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