Eunice Newton Foote’s 204th birthday is celebrated by the Google Doodle.
Eunice Newton Foote was an American scientist, inventor, and women’s rights activist who made significant contributions to the field of climate science in the mid-19th century. Despite her groundbreaking work, Eunice Newton Foote’s contributions to science were often overlooked and ignored by her male colleagues. In this article, we will explore the life and legacy of Eunice Newton Foote.
Early Life and Education
Eunice Newton Foote was born in 1819 in Goshen, Connecticut. She grew up in a family of farmers and was educated at a local school for girls. At the age of 17, she moved to Troy, New York, to attend the Troy Female Seminary, one of the most prestigious schools for women in the United States at the time.
After completing her studies, Newton returned to Connecticut, where she married a wealthy inventor named Elisha Foote. The couple moved to Seneca Falls, New York, where Eunice Newton Foote became involved in the women’s rights movement and attended the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848.
In the mid-19th century, scientists were just beginning to understand the role that carbon dioxide played in the Earth’s atmosphere. In 1856, Eunice Newton Foote conducted a series of experiments that would help to lay the foundation for modern climate science.
In her research, Eunice Newton Foote filled glass cylinders with various gases and then exposed them to sunlight. She found that gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapor absorbed more heat than other gases, which led her to conclude that changes in the amount of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have an impact on the Earth’s temperature.
Eunice Newton Foote presented her findings at a scientific conference in 1856, where they were met with skepticism and ridicule by her male colleagues. Her work was largely ignored by the scientific community, and she was not credited with her discovery until many years later.
Women’s Rights Activist
In addition to her scientific work, Eunice Newton Foote was also a prominent advocate for women’s rights. She was a member of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention and worked closely with other women’s rights activists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.
Eunice Newton Foote was a vocal advocate for women’s suffrage and believed that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. She argued that women’s contributions to science and other fields were just as valuable as men’s and that they should be recognized and celebrated.
Despite the many obstacles that she faced, Eunice Newton Foote’s contributions to science and women’s rights have continued to inspire generations of scientists and activists. In recent years, her work on climate science has gained renewed attention as scientists have become increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change.
In 2018, the American Chemical Society recognized Eunice Newton Foote’s contributions to science by designating her experiment on carbon dioxide as a National Historic Chemical Landmark. The ACS noted that Foote’s work “represented a significant advance in the understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere and the role of carbon dioxide in climate change.”
Eunice Newton Foote’s story is a reminder of the many women who have made significant contributions to science and other fields, but whose work has been overlooked or ignored due to gender bias. Today, many organizations and initiatives are working to address this bias and to promote greater diversity and inclusion in science and other fields.
In conclusion, Eunice Newton Foote was a pioneering scientist and women’s rights activist who made significant contributions to the field of climate science in the mid-19th century. Despite facing significant obstacles and discrimination, Eunice Newton Foote persevered in her work and helped to lay the foundation for modern climate science. Her legacy continues to inspire scientists and activists today and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of diversity and inclusion in science and other fields.