By all rights, Eunice Newton Foote should be a household name.
More than a century and a half ago, Foote was part of one of the most important scientific discoveries of our time: revealing the role of carbon dioxide in the earth’s greenhouse effect.
And yet relatively few people have heard of her.
Foote was the first person to demonstrate that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and also the first person to suggest that an atmosphere containing high levels of carbon dioxide would lead to a warmer earth.
Her research findings, contained in the paper “Circumstances affecting the heat of the sun’s rays,” were presented at the August 23, 1856, annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Being female, however, Foote was not allowed to read her own paper. Instead, Professor Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian Institution spoke on…
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