Gillian Anderson on the pioneering climate scientist, Eunice Foote.
In Gillian’s latest episode of #WhatDoIKnow?! we discover the hidden story of Eunice Foote, an extraordinary scientist from the 19th Century who discovered and defined the greenhouse effect - yet she was ignored.
If you’ve not yet listened to the episode, you can do so here.
Following on from today’s episode, we wanted to further celebrate and credit Eunice’s pioneering work. Below you will find links to her published work and research.
Becoming a climate change pioneer was not the “First” Eunice accomplished in her lifetime. In 1856 and 1857 she also became the first American woman to have her physics studies published.
Her first paper titled “Circumstances affecting the heat of the sun’s rays,” was printed in the American Journal of Science and Arts next to an article published by her husband. Her research was first noticed in an 1856 Scientific American article, “Scientific ladies.—experiments with condensed gases,” where the unnamed author praises the work of female scientists: “the experiments of Mrs. Foot[e] afford abundant evidence of the ability of women to investigate any subject with originality and precision.”
Her final piece of work that was published in a scientific journal was a paper called “On a new source of electrical excitation,” in which she measured the static electricity of different conditions. She then returned to campaigning for women’s suffrage. Although, her scientific contributions took on a new direction in the form of inventions.
Some of her inventions include: a shoe and boot insert made of a single piece of vulcanised rubber to “prevent the squeaking of new boots and shoes”, a skate which did not have straps, and a new cylinder-type of paper-making machine.
Today, to honour all of Eunice’s accomplishments, the American Geographical Union has established The Eunice Newton Foote Medal for Earth-Life Science as an honour and recognition for her outstanding scientific research.