Eunice Newton Foote

By Loura

Eunice Newton Foote is a good scientist. On July 17, Google honoured the American scientist and women’s rights advocate Eunice Newton Foote.

Foote has the honour of being the first to understand the greenhouse effect and how it affects the climate on Earth. Her commitment to women’s rights and her work in science were interwoven strongly.

Google created a Doodle in Foote’s honour to commemorate her 204th birthday and her outstanding accomplishments.

Google successfully conveyed the greenhouse effect notion with an 11-slide interactive graphic by highlighting Foote’s groundbreaking achievements.

What is the Greenhouse Effect?

The greenhouse effect is when a planet’s atmosphere contains certain gases known as greenhouse gases, which retain some of the heat emitted from the planet’s surface.

This process causes heat to build up close to the planet’s surface, raising the planet’s temperature. This phenomena and its effects on the climate of the Earth were clarified by important research by Foote.

Eunice Newton Foote: A Life Dedicated to Science and Women’s Rights

In Connecticut, on this day in 1819, Eunice Newton Foote was born. She actively participated in Seneca Falls’ inaugural Woman’s Rights Convention in 1848.

By signing the Declaration of Sentiments, a landmark declaration that advocated equal rights and legal status for women in society, Foote played a crucial part in the cause of gender equality. She was the sixth signatory to the text.

In spite of social obstacles and marginalisation from the scientific world, Foote persisted in conducting her research on her own. She focused her vast study and experimentation on the reactions of different gases to heat. She made a ground-breaking breakthrough by putting mercury thermometers in glass cylinders.

Foote noted that when exposed to sunshine, the cylinder holding carbon dioxide saw the greatest heating impact.

The relationship between growing carbon dioxide levels and the warming of the atmosphere was established in large part because to Foote’s investigations.

After her death in 1888, her achievements were, nevertheless, forgotten for over a century. Women scholars just recently found her work and realised the magnitude of her influence.

Foote continued her study and carried out experiments on air static electricity after publishing her results.  These investigations sparked more research projects that revealed the current knowledge of the greenhouse effect.

Foote’s Experiment and the Link to Climate Change

The concept of climate change was fundamentally altered by Foote’s ground-breaking experiment in 1856. She filled cylinders with different gases and exposed them to sunlight so she could observe them.

Foote’s careful examination led to the astonishing discovery that carbon dioxide had the greatest heating impact of all the gases. Her research led her to the conclusion that carbon dioxide alone, with its strong warming impact, has the power to change Earth’s temperature.

As a result, she became the first scientist to prove a link between atmospheric warming and carbon dioxide levels.

The field of climate science has advanced thanks to Foote’s study. Her research was crucial in revealing the meaning and relevance of the greenhouse effect, along with following studies and debates.

A male scientist presented Foote’s findings at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which sparked more research and advancements in this area.

A Champion for Women’s Rights

Eunice Newton Foote spent a significant amount of her life fighting for women’s rights in addition to making ground-breaking contributions to science. She showed her dedication to gender equality by attending the inaugural Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848.

Foote, the fifth signatory to the Declaration of Sentiments, strongly promoted women’s equality in society and the law.


Even now, the achievements of scientist and women’s rights advocate Eunice Newton Foote serve as an example. Climate science was revolutionised by her discovery of the greenhouse effect and its effects on Earth’s climate.

Foote’s endurance and tenacity during a period when women faced several obstacles in the scientific fields are deserving of praise and appreciation.

Eunice Newton Foote left a lasting legacy on history by redefining the narrative of climate change and fighting for women’s rights. She also set the path for subsequent generations of scientists and activists.