Phenomenal Feminist Friday

Eunice Foote: the Mother of Climate Change Research


“Science was of no country and of no sex. The sphere of woman embraces not only the beautiful and the useful, but the true.” ~ Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian Institution Aug 1856

Photo Credit: Eunice Newton Foote // Carlyn Iverson / NOAA

Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, John Tyndall, James Croll, and Svante Arrhenius all received timely credit for their contributions to climate research.

Smack in the middle of those names should be Eunice Newton Foote. In 1856 she shared her research on the circumstances affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays(specifically the composition of the air) at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting.

“Foote’s paper demonstrated the interactions of the sun’s rays on different gases through a series of experiments using an air pump, four thermometers, and two glass cylinders.” She tested “hydrogen, common air and CO2, all heated after being exposed to the sun.” ~The Smithsonian Magazine

As a woman and an “amateur” scientist, she did not present her findings to the group personally. Joseph Henry summarized her research.



Alexandra Henning The Hysterical Historian

I write about politics, science, among other topics as the mood strikes through a historical lense.