In 1965, Lovelock, while working at NASA, as a consultant for a planned voyager mission to Mars, suggested that to be able to detect “life” on Mars, one would have to “look for an entropy reduction” and or analyze the “chemical composition of a planetary atmosphere” to look for the “equilibrium chemistry” products associated with life.
In 1975, Lovelock, in his “Thermodynamics and the Recognition of Alien Biospheres”, intermixed Boltzmann entropy, Shannon information entropy, and chemical thermodynamics entropy, to argue that the “information”, or information content, of a system, the system in mind here being an “alien biospheric system”, could be defined, in a “thermodynamic sense”, according to Lovelock by the following formula:
where S0 is the "entropy of the system whose components are at equilibrium" and S is the "entropy of the system when assembled".
In 1974, Lovelock, in his "Atmospheric Homeostasis by and for the Biosphere: the Gaia hypothesis" article, co-authored with Lynn Margulis, introduced their so-called "Gaia hypothesis", the conjecture that the "earth is alive", and that the atmosphere is kind of like the lungs of the "living earth".
In 1979, Lovelock, in his Gaia: a New Look at Life on Earth, summarized his "living earth" theories, in a lay public way.
- Lovelock, James E.; Kaplan, I.R. (1975). “Thermodynamics and the Recognition of Alien Biospheres [and Discussion]”, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 189(1095):167-81.
- (a) Lovelock, James E.; Kaplan, I.R. (1975). “Thermodynamics and the Recognition of Alien Biospheres [and Discussion]”, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 189(1095):167-81.
(b) Skene, Keith. (2020). “In Pursuit of the Framework behind the Biosphere: S-curves, Self-assembly, and the Genetic Entropy Paradox” (abs) (pdf), BioSystems, Volume 190, Apr.
- Lovelock, James. (1979). Gaia: a New Look at Life on Earth (Introduction, pg. 1-2). Oxford University Press.
- Lovelock, James. (2019). “Lovelock discusses his greatest epiphany” (YT), Science Museum, Nov 11.
- James Lovelock – Hmolpedia 2020.