The Woman Who Demonstrated the Greenhouse Effect
Play • 31 min

In 1856, decades before the term “greenhouse gas” was coined, Eunice Newton Foote demonstrated the greenhouse effect in her home laboratory. She placed a glass cylinder full of carbon dioxide in the sun, and found that it heated up much faster than a cylinder of ordinary air. Her conclusion: more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere results in a warmer planet. Several years later, a British scientist named John Tyndall conducted a far more complicated experiment that demonstrated the same effect and revealed how it worked. Today, he’s widely known as the man who discovered the greenhouse gas effect. There’s even a crater on the moon named for him! Eunice Newton Foote, meanwhile, was lost to history—until an amateur historian stumbled on her story.

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