Jan Ingenhousz: Best known for Discovering Photosynthesis

Jan Ingenhousz: Dutch Physiologist, Biologist, and Chemist:-

Who is Jan Ingenhousz:-

Jan Ingenhousz is an 18th-century Dutch doctor, biologist, and chemist who investigated how plants convert light into energy, a process known as photosynthesis. Plants, such as animals, are believed to undergo a cellular respiratory process. He is best known for his discovery of photosynthesis, showing that light is essential to the process by which green plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They have also discovered that plants, such as animals, are cell reactive. During his lifetime, he successfully vaccinated the Habsburg family of smallpox in Vienna in 1768 and later became known as a personal advisor and personal physician to Queen Austria Maria Theresia.


His Birth and Education:-

Jan Ingenhousz was born in 1730 in the town of Breda in the southern Netherlands to the paternal Ingen Horz family, whose parents were Arnoldos Ingenhousz and Maria Ingenhousz. He had an older brother, Ludovicus Ingenhousz. He became a pharmacist.

At the age of 16, Ingenhousz graduated from his native Latin school and began studying medicine at the University of Leuven. He obtained a medical degree in 1753. He also did advanced research at Leiden University. During his tenure at Leiden, he interacted with Peter Mushenbrook, the inventor of the first electric capacitor, in 1745/1746. Ingenhousz also raises a lifelong interest in electricity.

After graduating from college, Ingenhousz began general medical practice in his home town of Breda. Although the exercise was successful, Ingenhousz was interested in many scientific subjects and stayed up to date with scientific experiments during his break. He was very interested in physics and chemistry, especially in electrical research. He studied the electricity produced by friction and developed electromechanics but continued his medicine in Breda until his father died.

After his father’s death, he traveled to London and became known as a competent inoculator because of his interest in vaccination techniques, especially those involving smallpox. Ingenhousz inoculated about 700 villagers in Hertfordshire to stop the smallpox epidemic and helped inoculate George III’s family vaccinate. In this company, he was helped by a friend of the family of John Pringle Lay, who was president of the royal family. While in England, he became personally acquainted with celebrities such as Benjamin Franklin, Henry Cavendish, and Joseph Priestley.

Had a Successful Carrer as a Physiologist, Biologist, and Chemist:-

After this time, Austrian Queen Maria Theresa showed interest in getting her family vaccinated against smallpox after her family members died of the disease. Due to his reputation and prior work in the field, Ingenhousz was selected in the vaccine.

The following year, the Austro-Hungarian ruler, Maria Theresa, who was wounded by smallpox, read about the success of the English campaign against the disease and decided to treat her family, although her own doctors were against it. She wrote to George for her advice on the best doctor and on her recommendation chose Ingenhousz, who traveled to Austria and successfully tested her three youngest children. As a result, he became the personal physician of both Maria Theresa and his son Joseph II. Ingenhousz lived the next ten years in Vienna, wherein 1775 she married Agatha Maria Jacquin.

Due to their success in vaccinating the royal family, they were highly respected in Austria. At Queen Maria Theresa’s request, she then went to Florence, Italy and vaccinated the person who would become Caesar Leopold II.

Jan Ingenhousz was very successful in his inoculation work and was one of the main proponents of variolation, which derives its name from the scientific name for smallpox, the variola. Diversity was an early method for vaccination against the disease. Over time, vaccination against smallpox became the norm, but at the time, Edward Jenner and others used an animal infection, smallpox, to vaccinate humans to protect them from smallpox. People who were infected with smallpox were also immune if they were later exposed to smallpox. Ingenhousz’s work helped reduce deaths from smallpox, and their methods serve as an infection of the vaccines used today. While variolation used a live virus, the specific vaccination methods used today use attenuated (weakened) or inactivated viruses, which makes them more secure.

Best known for Discovering Photosynthesis:-

In the late 1770s, Ingenhousz moved to the small town of Calne in the southwestern part of England, Wiltshire, where he turned his attention to research. His colleague Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen there a few years ago and Ingenhousz did his research at the same place.

During his experiments, he put various plants underwater in transparent containers so that he could observe what was happening. He noticed that when the plant was in the light, bubbles appeared under the leaves of the plant. When the same plant was placed in the dark, he noticed after a while that the formation of bubbles had ceased. He also pointed out that it is not only the leaves that produce the bubbles but also other green parts of the plant.

They put various plants underwater in transparent containers to see what was going on during their experiments. He just noticed that when the plant was in the light, bubbles appeared under the leaves of the plant. When they kept the same plant in the dark, they noticed that after some time the foam manufacturing had stopped. He also explained that it is not only the production of leaves but also other green parts of the plant.

Next, plant-generated bubbles were collected and several tests were performed to confirm their identity. After so many trials, he came to know that the smoldering candle ruled with gas. Therefore, Ingenhousz speculated that the gas was oxygen. During his experiments, he also speculated that these same plants emit carbon dioxide in the dark. Finally, he notes that the total amount of oxygen released by plants in light is greater than the carbon dioxide released in the dark.

Before his death in 1799, Jan Ingenhousz” used vegetables, purified with incense and discovered his great power to injure it in the shade and at night”. His work was translated into many languages and provided a basis for understanding modern photosynthesis.

You May like this Post:
Eva Ekeblad: Swedish Aristocrat and Agronomist
Interesting and Amazing USA Facts
Amazing and Interesting Facts About India
Top 38 Interesting Facts About Youtube(utube) Channel

Other Research Work:

In addition to his work in the Netherlands and Vienna, Jan Ingenhouszspent time in France, England, Scotland, Switzerland and elsewhere. He studied electrical, thermal, and chemistry, and had close and frequent contacts with both Benjamin Franklin and Henry Cavendish. In 1785, he described the irregular movement of coal dust on the surface of alcohol and thus has claimed as a discoverer of what came to be known as the Brownian motion. Ingenhousz was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1769.


In 1799, Ingenhousz died at Bowood House in Calne, England, and was buried in the graveyard of Our Lady of Calne. His wife died the following year.

No Responses to “Jan Ingenhousz: Best known for Discovering Photosynthesis”

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar