Happy Birthday Eunice Newton Foote, A Climate Science Pioneer

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Jul 17, 2021

Eunice Newton Foote, born on July 17th, 1819, is the first person who discovered the potential for greenhouse gases to cause Climate Change. Mrs. Foote conducted a study and wrote up the results in a paper in 1856, “Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays,” but because of her gender, she didn’t receive the recognition she deserves for her discoveries. In fact, because of the times, she wasn’t even allowed to present her paper, it had to be done by a man.

Mrs. Foote was the first to measure and report that a cylinder with moisture became warmer than one with dry air and that one filled with carbon warmed even more and took longer to cool down. She extrapolated these findings and noted how the same principles could impact the planet at large.

Courtesy New York Times
Courtesy Climate.gov. A scan of Mrs. Foote’s research paper in the American Journal of Science.

In addition to being a scientist, Mrs. Foote was also involved with early efforts at promoting women’s rights. She was present at the first Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19-20, 1848, in which a Declaration of Sentiments demanding the right to vote and equality for women.

We hope you’ll take a look at the 2018 short film produced about Mrs. Foote and her discovery.

About The Author - Jeremy Smithson

Started Puget Sound Solar in 2001 with 30 years of construction contracting experience, and a desire to turn Seattle on to solar energy. Achieving NABCEP certification in 2004, Jeremy believes that our customers often follow a path similar to the one he took, starting out with solar daydreaming, then progressing to education on the subject, and eventually leading to action. In addition to leading the company he also does some teaching and speaking engagements about various aspects of solar energy, and experiments relentlessly with various solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle projects.

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