The concept of photosynthesis was first explored by Dutch physician Jan Baptista van Helmot in 1648 during an experiment involving a willow tree. Helmot discovered that plants did not get their nutrients from the soil. However, it took several other botanists and scientists to unravel the process of photosynthesis.
Joseph Priestley, a chemist, discovered that air was composed of gases. In 1730, Dutch biologist Jan Ingenhousz reported that plants produced oxygen. Further discovery was made by Jean Senebier, a Swiss botanist, who uncovered the role of carbon dioxide in photosynthesis. It wasn't until 1845 that Swiss chemist Nicolas-Theodore de Saussure was able to finally draw all the pieces of photosynthesis together.