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The University of Southampton
Interdisciplinary Research Excellence

Is the Earth alive? A planetary odyssey Event

26 February 2014
Building 53, Room 4025a Highfield Campus

For more information regarding this event, please email Jo Corsi at .

Event details

Part of the CS4 Complexity Seminar Series 2013-2014.

It seems somewhat eccentric if not a little absurd to suggest that a planet is a living thing. Earth has life on it, but it's not a biological organism. Any theory or argument which concludes that the Earth is alive could be safely filed under "not even wrong". So when James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis first proposed the Gaia Hypothesis in the early 1970s, some seized on the possible implication that the Earth is a form of biological organism. The Earth is alive? Nonsense! In the decades since, the Gaia Hypothesis has significantly developed and been instrumental in the creation of the new discipline of Earth Systems Science which seeks to understand both the living and non-living components of the Earth in a holistic manner.

In this talk I will give an overview of some of the developments of the mathematical and conceptual theories that underpin Gaia Theory and argue why such approaches are important in a global change context. Humans are currently affecting the Earth via a spectrum of effects. While there is no danger of us destroying the Earth's biosphere, we are at risk of nudging it into states that would be deleterious to us."


The talk will run from 4-5pm in B53/4025, Highfield Campus.

All CS4 talks are free and refreshments will be provided from 5pm. For videos of previous talks and interviews and details of future talks please visit:

To help us manage numbers, if you would like to attend one of our seminar series please can you inform Jo Corsi

Speaker information

Dr James Dyke,Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Complex Systems Simulation at the University of Southampton

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