- Linnaeus , Carolus
- (1707–1778) Swedish botanistLinnaeus, born Carl Linné, a pastor's son in Råshult, Sweden, began studying medicine at the University of Lund in 1727, transferring to Uppsala University the following year. While at college he investigated the newly proposed theory that plants exhibit sexuality and, by 1730, had begun formulating a taxonomic system based on stamens and pistils. He extended his knowledge of plants on travels through Lapland in 1732, where he discovered a hundred new species, and around Europe from 1733 to 1735.In 1735 he settled in Holland and published his first major work,Systema Naturae (The System of Nature), in which he systematically arranged the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms. In it, he classified whales and similar creatures as mammals and recognized man's affinity to the apes to the extent of naming the orang-utan Homo troglodytes. The flowering plants were divided into classes, depending on the number and arrangement of their stamens, and subdivived into orders, according to the number of their pistils. This system, because it was based simply on sexual characters, only partly showed the natural relationships between plants. It was undoubtedly useful in its time, however, for ordering the many new species that were arriving in Europe from all over the world.Linnaeus's lasting contribution to taxonomy was his introduction, in 1749, of binomial nomenclature, which he applied in Species Plantarum (Species of Plants) (1753) by giving each plant a generic and a specific name. For example, applying the Linnean system, the Texas bluebonnet is named Lupinus subcarnosuswhere Lupinus is the generic name and subcarnosus the specific name. Until then scientific plant names were polynomial – a short Latin description of the distinguishing features. This combination of name and description was unsatisfactory, being too long for the name and too brief for the description. Linnaeus's innovation, separating the two functions, is the basis of modern nomenclature.Linnaeus had returned to Sweden in 1738 and practiced there as a physician until he was appointed professor at Uppsala University in 1741. His botanical teaching stimulated many pupils, such as Daniel Solander, Carl Per Thunberg, and Anders Dahl, to travel widely collecting specimens. On Linnaeus's death his collection was bought by the English naturalist Sir James Smith. The London-based Linnean Society, founded by Smith in 1788, purchased the books and herbarium specimens from Smith's widow in 1828.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.