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The notion that human activities might be warming the planet started coming into focus in the 1960s and ’70s, before a scientific consensus emerged in the 1980s and ’90s. But the rough outlines of the science surrounding humanity’s greatest contemporary threat has a surprising, little-known history that dates back roughly two centuries. This brief animation from BBC Ideas traces our modern understanding of the greenhouse effect through the work of three pioneering scientists, beginning with the US scientist and women’s rights activist Eunice Foote, whose 1856 work on the heat-trapping effects of CO2 was buried for decades before being rediscovered in 2010.
How would a piano sound on Mars? Embark on an interplanetary sonic journey
Design and fashion
Gear up for a stylish celebration of vintage motorcycle design
An ode to the humble rotifer – one of nature’s simplest and strangest creatures
Check in to the Hilbert Hotel, and learn why some infinities are bigger than others
Cognition and intelligence
How a ‘periodic table’ of animal intelligence could help to root out human bias
The city as an emergent life form, with architecture as the skeleton and roads as veins
How sky-high dreams launched one man’s audacious life in homemade rocketry
Earth science and climate
How much can science really tell us about the future of climate change?
War and peace
What happens when pacifist soldiers search for peace in a war video game