Lesley Hughes is an ecologist and professor of biology at Macquarie University who researches the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. She is a councillor with the publicly funded Climate Council of Australia.
Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier was a very busy man. The French mathematician and physicist was, at various times, a baron, imprisoned for his political activities in the French Revolution, and a scientific adviser to Napoleon during his Egypt campaign. Best remembered today for his eponymous mathematical and physical theorems about vibrations and heat transfer, Fourier also found time to play a pivotal role in our understanding of the Earth’s climate. In 1822, Fourier’s quest for a universal theory of terrestrial temperatures culminated in his magnum opus, Théorie analytique de la chaleur. The core of the book expounded the relationship between the Earth as a cooling body, the Sun as the heat source, and the atmosphere, delightfully described as the “diaphanous” intermediary, slowing the rate of heat loss from the Earth’s surface to space.