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Thoughts on learning, sustainability and the link between them

Eunice Foote

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So, the new head of the US EPA doesn't think that CO2 has much of a role in global warming.  What a pity Eunice Foote isn't still around to enlighten him.

It was the American scientist Eunice Foote who first discovered the greenhouse effect in 1856.  She showed that gases in the atmosphere were affected by the Sun’s radiation in different ways, and of all the gases she tested, it was CO2 that trapped the most heat. In 1859, UK physicist John Tyndall independently demonstrated the same effects, and he usually gets the credit for making the link.   This was because he published his results, including data on how the absorption of radiant heat differed from gas to gas.  Foote was ahead of her time.  Although her work was not published, and she wasn’t even allowed to present her findings to fellow scientists as no woman could do that in the USA at the time, it’s reported that she also speculated about whether changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air might lead to a warming of the Earth.

 

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