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Date(s) - Thursday, May 17
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Humanities & Social Sciences Building


Held in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB.

Science Knows No Gender? In Search of Eunice Foote, Who, 162 Years Ago Discovered the Principal Cause of Global Warming

Eunice Newton Foote discovered 162 years ago that carbon dioxide is the principal cause of global warming. She was the first person to demonstrate that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. She also was the first person to recognize that an atmosphere with more CO2 would lead to an earth with a higher temperature. In their own way, her discoveries rank in importance with Darwin’s Origin of the Species for contemporary cultural, and scientific debates and though there are thousands of books written about Darwin, none exists regarding Eunice Foote.

She remains totally unknown to this day solely because she was born a woman. Telling her story today has never been more compelling because it enhances the visibility of women in science, and their significant contributions. Setting the record straight about the importance of women in the history of science counters the mean notion that women are not as capable in math and science as men. Stories of brilliant women in science, such as the one we propose to tell, will empower and inspire.

And it demonstrates the deep historical roots of climate change science: Eunice Foote’s elegant and easily replicable experiments proved 162 years ago that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming, and they illustrate the consequences of today’s burning of fossil fuels. Foote clearly warned in 1856 that an atmosphere that contains more carbon dioxide will create a much hotter world. As Dr. Joe Incandela, UCSB Vice-Chancellor of Research states, “This important history about Eunice Foote needs to hit the main stage in light of its global warming lessons and its revelations about the history of women in science.”