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

Did John Tyndall read Eunice Foote's paper?

There is no way to definitively know if Tyndall read her paper. However, the arguments that have been raised to suggest he wasn't aware of it do not hold up.

The Royal Institute, with which Tyndall was affiliated, and where he was Professor of Physics from 1853-1887, carried the "American Journal of Science and Arts". Furthermore, the November 1956 issue in which Eunice Foote's paper appeared also included a reprinted version of Tyndall's own article on color blindness.

The "London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine" and "Journal of Science"--of which Tyndall was one of the editors--reprinted an article by Foote’s husband which was immediately adjacent to the one by Eunice Foote.

Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal

The 1857 volume of The "Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal" published in truncated form all of Foote’s findings, stating clearly that when exposed to the sun’s rays she found “moist air [is] more [heated] than dry, carbonic acid more than atmospheric air.”

Die Fortschritte der Physik Im Jahre 1856

An abstract of Foote’s work appeared in a worldwide compendium of the most important discoveries of the year, the the prestigious "German Advances of Physics in Year 1856," in the category regarding radiant heat. Tyndall’s higher education in Germany gave him the fluency to read about her work in that language, an ability most of his English colleagues lacked. As Dr. James Elswick, coordinator of the Tyndall Correspondence Transcription Project, remarked, his command of German made him a “kind of importer of German language material to the United Kingdom, which provided him with a huge advantage among his English colleagues.” According to his biographer, Tyndall served as “the prime catalyst between German and British physicists in the mid nineteenth century,” establishing himself as the conduit to his English colleagues of everything discussed in Germany regarding the physical sciences (Perlin, 2019).