Eunice Foote Discovered Climate Change 5 Years Before the Man Who Received Praise

You’ve probably never heard of Eunice Foote, but she was the first person to record climate change. Five years before the man credited with its discovery.

In Foote’s experiment, which was recorded in a short scientific paper in 1856, he noted that “the greatest effect of the sun’s rays, I found, is on carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide).” This discovery laid the groundwork for a modern understanding of the “greenhouse gas phenomenon”, but the recognition was given to an Irish scientist named John Tyndall in 1861.

Who was Eunice Foote?

Eunice Foote was 37 years old when she made her climate discovery. She grew up on a farm in Connecticut, USA and in her late teens attended the Troy Female Seminary (later Emma Willard School) – the first female prep school in America.

Based in Troy, New York, it was the first school to offer young women the same education as men, with subjects such as advanced math and science. One of her teachers was Amos Eaton, who co-founded the nearby Rensselaer School for boys and changed the way science was taught in America.

It may also have been helped by the fact that her father had the same name as one of the founders of science – Isaac Newton. In addition to her interest in science, Foote was also an active advocate for women’s rights and was a member of the editorial board of the Seneca Falls Assembly in 1848, the first conference on women’s rights organized by prominent suffrageist Elizabeth Candy Stanton. .

How he discovered climate change

Foote’s scientific work entitled “On the heat in the sun’s rays” was published in the American Journal of Science and Arts in November 1856.

The experiment he conducted included two glass cylinders, two thermometers and an air pump. He pumped carbon dioxide into one cylinder and air into another and then placed them in the sun. “The receiver containing the gas warmed itself very much – much noticeably more than the other – and when it was removed, it took many times longer to cool,” she said in her article.

The higher temperature in the carbon dioxide cylinder showed Foote that carbon dioxide traps most of the heat. He performed the experiment on a number of different gases, including hydrogen and oxygen.

That fact must be taken into account. ” “what today, an increased temperature from his own action as well as from the increased weight should have necessarily arisen”. This was the first scientific recognition that CO2 had the power to change the Earth’s temperature.

Eunice Foote - Woman discovers climate change 5 years before acclaimed man

Because John Tyndall got the credit

John Tyndall was an Irish physicist who was already known to the scientific community for his work on magnetism and polarity when Foote published its findings. In fact, Tyndall had published a paper on color blindness in the same issue of The American Journal of Science and Arts in which Foote published her experiment with carbon dioxide.

Then, in 1861, John Tyndall demonstrated the absorbent nature of gases, including oxygen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. Using an analog spectrophotometer he designed, he measured the absorption of these gases in the infrared in what would later become known as the “greenhouse effect”.

There is some debate as to whether Tyndall stole Foote’s research, although it may be fairer to say that reading it influenced his future discoveries – although he did not mention it in his findings.

Tyndall was honored as one of the founders of the science of climate change, while Foote was forgotten until the beginning of the 21st century.

Either way, the result is the same – Tyndall was hailed as one of the founders of the science of climate change, while Foote was forgotten until the early 21st century. Tyndall remained a prominent scientist until his wife accidentally killed him in 1893 by giving him a lethal dose of chloral hydrate, which he had taken to cure his insomnia.


Source: Εναλλακτική Δράση by

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