Skip to content
Search AI Powered

Latest Stories

Jan Ingenhousz Google Doodle: What Did the Dutch Scientist Discover?

Jan Ingenhousz Google Doodle: What Did the Dutch Scientist Discover?

Who does today's Google Doodle honor? Geerdt Mageils put it best in his paper for the 1st Conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association, when he said, "Who discovered photosynthesis? Not many people know. Jan Ingenhousz' name has been forgotten, his life and work have disappeared in the mists of time. Still, the tale of his scientific endeavor show science in action."

Jan Ingenhousz was the Dutch physiologist best known for discovering photosynthesis. His work extends far beyond plant and animal research, though. Ingenhousz is also recognized for inoculating family members of the House of Habsburg against smallpox in 1968. According to Geerdt Magiels, he received many rewards for the inoculation, including gifts and a life-long annual income.

He Inoculated Austrian Royalty Against Smallpox in the 1760s

At age 16, the physician, chemist and engineer began to study medicine at the University of Leuven—as he was Catholic, he could not study at Protestant universities like Leyden or Amsterdam. Ingenhousz went on to receive his MD degree in 1753. Two years later, he started his own medical practice in his hometown of Breda, the Netherlands.

A man of many talents, Ingenhousz created an apparatus that generated electricity in 1766. In 1768, he made his way to Vienna, where he successfully inoculated the family of Empress Maria Theresa, and less than two decades later, he became the first to quantitatively measure heat conduction in metal rods.

It wasn't until about a decade after that triumph that Ingenhousz published his results on plant physiology in a book titled, Experiments Upon Vegetables, Discovering Their Great Power of Purifying the Common Air in Sunshine, and of Injuring It in the Shade and at Night. In the book, he expanded on Joseph Priestley's previous plant research by showing that light is necessary for photosynthesis, only green plants perform it, and that the extent that air will be restored in a green plant exceeds its damaging effect.

According to, the book was translated into a number of languages and became the foundation for related research and understanding the process of photosynthesis.

He Was Interested in Electricity and Heat Conduction

In the words of Magiels, Ingenhousz was a man of the Enlightenment, interested in all facets of science. Fascinated specifically by heat conductivity and the study of electricity, he kept in close contact with Benjamin Franklin and Henry Cavendish.

Illness eventually made study and research difficult for the scientist. Though he was plagued with gall and bladder stones, he spent his later years writing and conducting experiments. He passed away in England in 1799.

More from News

Screenshots of Kamala Harris and J.D. Vance

Kamala Harris Calls Out JD Vance For 'What He Didn't Say' During RNC Speech In Epic Takedown

In a fiery speech to supporters in North Carolina, Vice President Kamala Harris called out what J.D. Vance—former President Donald Trump's freshly selected running mate—"didn't say" in his speech accepting the VP nomination on Night 3 of the Republican National Convention.

Amid much talk about key conservative issues like immigration, the ongoing border crisis, and "law and order," he did not once mention what the GOP has explicitly laid out and is now attempting to distance itself from: Project 2025.

Keep ReadingShow less
Screenshot of Daniel Dale; Donald Trump
CNN; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

CNN Fact-Checker Debunks Trump's RNC Speech Lies For 2 Minutes Straight—And Yeah, It's A Lot

CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale debunked lies former President Donald Trump told during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, dedicating two minutes to picking apart Trump's many falsehoods.

Trump made numerous oddball remarks during his speech, particularly his reference that the world was "at peace" when he was in office until his political opponents "turned it into a planet of war," declaring that the planet is now "blowing up around us" due to Democratic policies.

Keep ReadingShow less
Screenshots of Donald Trump and Tiffany Trump

Trump Snubbed Daughter Tiffany As She Went In For A Kiss At The RNC—And People Are Team Tiffany

Social media users were sympathetic to Tiffany Trump after her father, former President Donald Trump, appeared to snub her as she went in for a kiss before his climactic speech accepting the GOP's presidential nomination.

Footage from early in the evening shows a smiling Tiffany walking up the stairs toward Trump, who clearly saw her. She then attempted to greet him with a kiss only to be ignored, as he looked out at the crowd beyond her, as she walked away looking dejected.

Keep ReadingShow less
Picture of Marjorie Taylor Greene seen on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart
The Daily Show

Jon Stewart Just Pointed Out The Weird Noise MTG Made During Her RNC Speech—And Now We Can't Unhear It

Jon Stewart had a lot to unpack on Tuesday's airing of The Daily Show, given a wild week that included the shocking assassination attempt on former Republican President Donald Trump as well as the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, which kicked off on Monday.

One specific highlight from the opening night of the RNC that Jon couldn't help but fixate on was far-right Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene making strange sounds while addressing delegates during her speech.

Keep ReadingShow less
Justin Long and wife Kate Bosworth
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Smile Train

Justin Long Shares Wife Kate Bosworth's 'Really Romantic' Reaction To Him Pooping The Bed

Warning: soiler alert. Graphic bowel movement descriptions ahead.

Actor Justin Long had a romantic e-poo-phany about how much he loved his wife, actor Kate Bosworth, when he soiled the bed after suffering from food poisoning during a trip to Mexico.

Keep ReadingShow less