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Jan Ingen-Housz. Historical portrait of the Dutch polymath Jan Ingen-Housz (1730-1799). Ingen-Housz studied physics, chemistry and medicine. His most fundamental work was on gas exchange in plants. He showed that in sunlight the green parts of plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, and that in darkness they release carbon dioxide. He had discovered the process of photosynthesis, the basis of plant and hence animal life on Earth. Ingen-Housz also travelled widely in Europe applying the pre-Jenner, live virus innoculation against smallpox. He invented several curious devices, including an electrically-fired pistol and a hydrogen-fuelled lighter.
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