Eunice Newton Foote, 1819-1888
Eunice Newton Foote discovered carbon dioxide’s ability to absorb heat and theorized that if the Earth’s air filled with more CO2, the planet’s temperature would rise. That was in 1856. Foote’s brief scientific paper unknowingly identified the foundational cause of global warming, the basis of today’s climate change crisis.
Foote’s discovery was the result of placing a thermometer in each of two glass cylinders. She pumped carbon dioxide gas into one and air into the other and placed the cylinders in the sun. The cylinder containing CO2 got much hotter than the one with air, and Foote concluded that CO2 would absorb in the atmosphere.
Eunice Foote’s discovery predated those of better-known male scientists John Tyndall, Svante Arrhenius, and Nils Ekholm by five, 40, and 45 years. Foote was a scientist and a woman of her time. Those attributes combined to ensure that her warning would not be heeded. Pity.
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Current Women in STEM Making History: Ina Montgomery
Ina P. Montgomery has stood in the gap to close the digital literacy divide for over thirty years. Her career began in corporate America as a computer-based training developer for one of the top three consulting firms in Washington, DC. Ms. Montgomery followed her passion for education and served as the Technology Director for a national charter school company. Over the years, she has had many leadership roles in K-12 education technology and currently works as an Adjunct Professor and a Workforce Development Trainer with Metropolitan Community College.
In 2013, Ms. Montgommery established her non-profit, Urban TEC, to formally address the need for technology education and training in K-12 schools in the urban core. Urban TEC has participated in national initiatives such as Digital Learning Day and Hour of Code by delivering workshops to expose middle and high school students to 21st-century knowledge and skills. Ms. Montgomery also created Urban TEC's STEAM Labs that are delivered in elementary afterschool settings that give students hands-on experiences with a range of STEAM activities to plant their seed of interest to pursue STEAM careers in the future.
"If I could go back in time and give Eunice Newton Foote one piece of advice, I would have advised and encouraged her to continue her research of carbon dioxide because it would be relevant for future generations in their understanding of climate changes."