In September 1856, Scientific American published a column praising the work of Eunice Newton Foote for her experiments with condensed gases.
Her work, they said "would do honor to men of the highest scientific reputation ... the experiments of Mrs Foot afford(s) abundant evidence of the ability of woman to investigate any subject with originality and precision".
It was a timely remark given that a month earlier, her work showing the greenhouse effect of CO2 had been reported at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
However it was not Eunice who spoke, but her colleague Joseph Henry, and neither the presentation nor Foote's paper were included in the conference proceedings.
It was a quiet beginning to a momentous discovery.
Her simple but elegant experiment demonstrated that CO2 traps heat.
She was curious to know how heat in glass cylinders is affected by their contents.
Jars with a partial vacuum were effective insulators, while those with moist air were warmer than those with dry air.
She tested cylinders with various gasses such as hydrogen and oxygen.
She compared a cylinder with normal air with one containing "carbonic acid gas" - carbon dioxide.
"An atmosphere of that gas would give to our earth a high temperature," she noted before moving on.
While Foote does not make much of her result, we now know the implications are profound. She and her work disappeared into obscurity until recently.
Three years later, Irish physicist John Tyndall published his findings with similar results. He in turn preceded Svante Arrhenius who presented a paper in 1895 titled, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground.
What these stories tell us is that the mechanism of carbon dioxide's greenhouse effect is extremely simple, and well within the grasp of a high school lab.
In the mid 1800s, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was less then 290 parts per million (PPM). With the burning of coal, it was already rising rapidly.
Now it has passed 419 PPM and is rising even faster.
Those concentrations are the highest at any time in the past 10 to 15 million years, pre-dating modern humans.
In 1857, Foote published another paper, On a new source of electrical excitation, about static electricity.
Aside from being an amateur "natural philosopher" as scientists were then called, Foote was involved with the suffragette movement which promoted women's' rights.
At a 1848 convention she signed a "Declaration of Sentiments", demanding equality with men in social status and legal rights and the right to vote.
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