Historical Perspectives

The Beginnings of Research on Photosynthesis
Part of the Cellular Organelles book series (CORG)


The human eye cannot discriminate two points that are less than about 100 μm (0.1 mm) apart. Most chloroplasts measure in their long dimension 4–6 μm. Therefore, the discovery of chloroplasts had to await the development of a microscope capable of magnifying an object greater than 20 diameters.


Historical Perspective Compound Microscope Carbonate Water Absorb Carbon Dioxide Phlogiston Theory 
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Literature Cited

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Additional Reading

  1. Comroe, J. H., Jr., ed. (1976) Bench Mark Papers in Human Physiology/5, Part I, Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  2. Loomis, W. E. (1960) Historical introduction, in Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, Vol. 5, Part I (W. Ruhland, ed.), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 85-114.Google Scholar
  3. Parkes, G. D., ed. (1951) Mellor’s Modern Inorganic Chemistry, Longmans, Green and Co., London. (This book contains excellent discussions of the early development of chemistry.)Google Scholar
  4. Photosynthesis Bicentennial Symposium (1971) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 68:2875–2897. (This symposium emphasizes the major discoveries made during the 20th century.)Google Scholar
  5. Priestley, J. (1962) Selections from His Writings (I. V. Brown, ed.), The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  6. Rabinowitch, E.I. (1945) Photosynthesis and Related Processes, Vol. I, Interscience Publishers, New York. (This book includes an excellent, detailed chapter on the development of photosynthesis.)Google Scholar
  7. Scott, A. F. (1984) The invention of the balloon and the birth of chemistry, Sci. Am. 250:(1)126–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Temple University School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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