Meet Eunice Foote, early climate scientist and women's rights leader
Her experiments uncovered the greenhouse effect three years before the man who was widely credited with this discovery
In the spirit of Massive's "Science Heroes" theme, I present Eunice Newton Foote, an early climate scientist and leader of women's rights. Since July 17 would have been her 200th birthday, here are a few facts about the woman who demonstrated the greenhouse effect and predicted its effect in the geologic past before John Tyndall, who is commonly credited with that accomplishment.
1. Foote was one of the committee members for the Seneca Falls Convention for women's rights, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Sentiments.
2. Foote's research on carbon dioxide and water vapor's effects on temperature were published in 1856, three years prior to Tyndall's work on the greenhouse effect (which did not credit her experiments or publication).
3. Having attended Troy Female Seminary and taken basic science courses at a nearby college, Foote then carried out her experiments not at a university, but in a lab at her home.
4. Foote's work was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science by a male colleague, although it's debated whether this was because women were not permitted to present work, or for other reasons.
5. Her research was later published under her own name. Foote was an AAAS member, but the organization did not grant women the title of 'Fellow.'
Although little is known about Foote following the Convention, and the 1856 publication appears to be her only paper, she now stands as more than a Foote-note in time.