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Eunice Foote to UCSB A Story of Women, Science and Climate Change


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Exhibition poster

Eunice Foote was an early American feminist, inventor, and ground-breaking scientist.

Foote’s 1856 discovery serves as a cornerstone of understanding the greenhouse effect, and her feminist activism created the momentum for changes in the civil, social, and political rights of women. Despite these achievements, few have heard of Foote.

John Perlin, an author and visiting scholar in the UCSB Physics Department, is writing a book about Eunice Foote to make evident Foote’s primacy in laying the foundation for understanding the greenhouse effect - a critical component of the climate system. He hopes to help restore her place among other early pioneers of climate science, such as John Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius.

The story of Eunice Foote reveals the deep historical roots of climate change science and demonstrates that women have been making important contributions to climate science for a long time. 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.”

This UCSB Library exhibition will draw on Perlin’s research to illustrate Foote’s contributions to climate science and feminism and connect her legacy to the contributions of faculty at UCSB who study climate change.

Curated by John Perlin, Emily Corb, and Alex Regan, with special thanks to Dr. David Lea and Dr. Kelly Caylor.

Co-sponsored with the Bren School for Environmental Science & Management, the Chancellor's Campus Sustainability Committee, Division of Student Affairs, Environmental Studies, Feminist Studies, the Institute for Energy Efficiency, UCSB Arts & Lectures' Thematic Learning Initiative and the UCSB Environmental and Climate Justice Studies Hub