Overlooked No More: Eunice Foote, Climate Scientist Lost to HistoryBreaking News
tags: history of science, womens history, climate, greenhouse effect
Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.
In the 1850s, Eunice Foote, an amateur scientist and activist for women’s rights, made a remarkable discovery about greenhouse gases that could have helped form the foundation of modern climate science.
But the scientific paper she published that might have added her name to the pantheon of early climate scientists was quickly forgotten, and she faded into obscurity. There isn’t even a known photograph of her today.
Foote’s ingenious and elegant experiment involved two glass cylinders filled with various substances, including moist air and carbon dioxide. She placed a thermometer in each container, then left them in sunlight.
In her 1856 paper about the experiment, “Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays,” she wrote that a cylinder with moist air became warmer than one with dry air. A cylinder filled with carbon dioxide warmed even more, and, once removed from the light, “it was many times as long in cooling.”
She then reached a sweeping conclusion: “An atmosphere of that gas would give to our earth a high temperature.”
comments powered by Disqus
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s Feminist Icon, Is Dead at 87
- How Jewish History and the Holocaust Fueled Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Quest for Justice
- Princeton Admitted Past Racism. Now It Is Under Investigation.
- How Jimi Hendrix’s London Years Changed Music
- Presidential Campaigns are Almost Always about the Future. In 2020, the Candidates Cannot Stop Talking about the Past
- 52 Years Ago, Thelonious Monk Played a High School. Now Everyone Can Hear It.
- From MLK to Whistleblowers, the FBI’s Trouble with Dissidents
- If the Electoral College is a Racist Relic, Why has it Endured? (podcast)
- It’s the 100th Anniversary of the Wall Street Bombing
- Ed Bearss, Past Chief Historian Of National Park Service, Dies At 97