In the 1920s, Dr. Herman A. Spoehr was on a mission to discover the secret life of chlorophyll, hoping to unlock the mystery of how plants form sugars from sunlight, water and air. Solving this puzzle was the key to creating massive sugar farms in the desert, like the one pictured here. Glass pipes in mirror-lined troughs would be filled with water charged with carbon dioxide, and set out in the sweltering desert sun, hopefully mimicking the process of photosynthesis without which we would have no food. Nearby factories would take the byproducts of the desert sugar farms and turn them into foodstuffs.
Read the full story in Noted Scientists Grapple With Food and Fuel Famine