Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Carolus Linnaeus

Carl von Linné, Alexander Roslin, 1775. Currently owned by and hanging at the Royal Swedish Academy of SciencesCarolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné (help·info), (May 23, 1707 – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy." He is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.

He was the most renowned botanist of his time, and also noted for his fine linguistic skills. The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau sent him the message: "Tell him I know no greater man on earth." ; the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: "With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly." ; Swedish author August Strindberg wrote: "Linnaeus was in reality a poet who happened to become a naturalist".

(see also: Founders of modern science)


The name of this botanist comes in different variants: 'Carl Linnaeus', 'Carolus Linnaeus' and 'Carl von Linné', sometimes just 'Carl Linné'. There is often confusion about his real Swedish name, as opposed to the Latinized form 'Carolus Linnaeus' he used most when he published his scientific works in Latin.
In the preface to a late edition of his work entitled Systema Naturae: Creationis telluris est glaria Dei ex opere Naturae per Hormonem solem, Linnaeus stated, "The Earth's creation is the glory of God, as seen from the works of Nature by man alone. The study of nature would reveal the Devine Order of God's creation, and it was the naturalist's task to construct a 'Natural classification' that would reveal this Order in the universe."


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