Dr. Lovelock was best known for his theory that the Earth is a self-regulating community of organisms. He called that super-organism Gaia. His Gaia Theory was ridiculed when he first proposed it, by many who believed it was “new age nonsense.” It now makes up the basis of much of climate science. He was also controversial among his fellow environmental scientists and campaigners because he advocated for nuclear energy. Now, many agree with his view.
Another notable invention by Lovelock was a device–the electron capture detector (ECD)–that detected chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are damaging to the ozone layer. The ECD patent made Dr. Lovelock sufficiently rich that he could engage in research on his own, without having to apply for grants and without being subject the the political whims of funding agencies. The ECD remains an essential tool in modern chemistry, especially in environmental protection.
[Gaia was the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth.]