Presenting a scientific list: Top 25 facts about Jan Ingenhousz and how he discovered Photosynthesis! Speaking of which, what do you know about the scientific process? You probably had the word on a 5th- grade spelling test and had to sit through what seemed like an eternity in science class learning about it.
The Dutch-born physician and chemist discovered the phenomena when he placed plants underwater. He did many other experiments involving metals, which led to the discovery of metals conducting heat. He also helped save the life of the Austrian royal family during the smallpox epidemic. He was given the coveted title of being the royal doctor because of his accomplishment!
Jan Ingenhousz was born on December 8th, 1730 in Breda, Netherlands. If you happen to be in that corner of the world and want to know where Breda is, don’t bother. The city is known nowadays as the Southern Netherlands.
Jan Ingenhousz was a determined young scientist. At only 16 years of age, he began studying medicine. He studied at the University of Leuven in Belgium and received his M.D. in 1753.
Became a doctor in his hometown
Fascinated by Electricity
Jan Igenhousza became intrigued by electricity because of one very famous scientist. Pieter van Musschenbroek fueled his imagination and sparked his love of electricity after he heard pioneer speak at The University of Leiden.
Austrian Royal Family
The Austrian royal family heard of his vaccinations of the villagers and he was asked to come and vaccinate them as well. The vaccination was a success and he was elected the doctor for The Royal Family of Austria.
Impact of Plants
Ingenhousz’s discovery of photosynthesis created a profound understanding of how plants and the environment interact with each other.
Experiments with Metal
Another experiment that he did was dip metal rods in wax, and then seeing how much melted off. It was this experiment that led him to discover that silver was the best metal for conducting heat, and lead was the worse.
He made his discovery of photosynthesis in the exact same laboratory that scientist Joseph Priestly discovered Oxygen.
More on Photosynthesis
Igenhousz’s experiment with photosynthesis led him to discover that the green parts of a plant inhaled carbon and then released oxygen during the day.
The Brownian Motion
Ingenhousz is also credited with discovering “Brownian Motion”. Brownian Motion is the random motion of particles suspended in a fluid (a liquid or a gas) resulting from their collision with the quick atoms or molecules in the gas or liquid.
Saving a King
Ingenhousz helped save the life of King Kaiser Leopold II. He gave him the smallpox vaccine. Although the king didn’t rule for very long he was highly regarded.
During the early stages of the photosynthesis experiment, Ingenousz put plants underwater. He discovered that when plants were in the light bubbles began to form in the water.
Although Robert Brown is given credit for discovering Brownian Motion. Many people say it was Ingenhousz’s previous work with gas and fire that led to the discovery.
One of many life-Changing Dutch Scientists
Jan Ingenhousz played a fundamental role in how we understand plant life. He is one of many awe-inspiring Dutch scientists who changed the world. Christiaan Huygens and Heike Kamerlingh Onnes are also Dutch scientists who paved the way for scientific exploration.
If he were alive today, Ingenhousz would be 289 years old. While it would be impossible for him to still be walking the Earth, his discovery and many contributions to the scientific community are still studied and talked about today.