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The actual process of photosynthesis was sort of an ongoing evolution of experiments beginning in the 17th century but most credit is given to Joseph Priestly, an English chemist who made some important discoveries in the late 1700’s. Priestly began experimenting with the different reactions of plants when exposed to low levels of oxygen. In his first notable expriment, he placed a lit candle under a glass jar with a sprig of mint; the candle soon burned out as it used up all of the oxygen under the jar. However he found that when he came back about a month later, the candle lit no problem until it burned up all of the replenished oxyen. His second famous experiment was conducted similarly except under the jar this time he placed a mouse with the plant. When the plant was present; the mouse was fine, but once removed, the mouse soon ran out of air and collapsed.
Another scientist of the late 18th century named Jan Ingenhousz took these experiments a step further to prove that it is light that really is the key ingredient in the photosynthesis process.
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