The Gaia hypothesis suggests that life is an active participant in shaping the physical and chemical environment on which it depends. Scientists on Gaia is a multidisciplinary exploration of this controversial hypothesis, which was introduced by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the early 1970s. Forty-four contributions detail the philosophical, empirical, and theoretical foundations of Gaia, mechanisms through which planet-wide homeostasis could occur, applicability of the hypothesis to planets other than Earth, possible destabilization by outside forces, and public policy implications.
Stephen H. Schneider, a climatologist, is Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado. Penelope J. Boston, a biologist, is a founder of Complex Systems Research, Lafayette, Colorado.
Stephen H. Schneider was Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Professor of Biology at Stanford University. He was also Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC's working group on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from 1997 to 2001, and, with his IPCC colleagues, was awarded a joint Nobel Prize in 2007. He was the author or editor of many books, including Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate and Scientists Debate Gaia: The Next Century (MIT Press, 2004). Dr. Penelope J. Boston is Director of the Cave and Karst Studies Program at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Studies.