Carl linnaus

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Carl Linnaeus

He was born on May 23, 1707, at Stenbrohult, in the province of Småland in southern Sweden. His father, Nils Ingemarsson Linnaeus, was both an avid gardener and a Lutheran pastor, and Carl showed a deep love of plants and a fascination with their names from a very early age. Carl disappointed his parents by showing neither aptitude nor desire for the priesthood, but his familywas somewhat consoled when Linnaeus entered the University of Lund in 1727 to study medicine. A year later, he transferred to the University of Uppsala, the most prestigious university in Sweden. However, its medical facilities had been neglected and had fallen into disrepair. Most of Linaeus's time at Uppsala was spent collecting and studying plants, his true love. At the time, training in botanywas part of the medical curriculum, for every doctor had to prepare and prescribe drugs derived from medicinal plants. Despite being in hard financial straits, Linnaeus mounted a botanical and ethnographical expedition to Lapland in 1731 (the portrait above shows Linnaeus as a young man, wearing a version of the traditional Lapp costume and holding a shaman's drum). In 1734 he mounted anotherexpedition to central Sweden. Linnaeus went to the Netherlands in 1735, promptly finished his medical degree at the University of Harderwijk, and then enrolled in the University of Leiden for further studies. That same year, he published the first edition of his classification of living things, the Systema Naturae. During these years, he met or corresponded with Europe's great botanists, andcontinued to develop his classification scheme. Returning to Sweden in 1738, he practiced medicine and lectured in Stockholm before being awarded a professorship at Uppsala in 1741. At Uppsala, he restored the University's botanical garden made three more expeditions to various parts of Sweden, and inspired a generation of students. He was instrumental in arranging to have his students sent out on tradeand exploration voyages to all parts of the world: nineteen of Linnaeus's students went out on these voyages of discovery. Perhaps his most famous student, Daniel Solander, was the naturalist on Captain James Cook's first round-the-world voyage, and brought back the first plant collections from Australia and the South Pacific to Europe. Anders Sparrman, another of Linnaeus's students, was abotanist on Cook's second voyage. Another student, Pehr Kalm, traveled in the northeastern American colonies for three years studying American plants. Yet another, Carl Peter Thunberg, was the first Western naturalist to visit Japan in over a century; he not only studied the flora of Japan, but taught Western medicine to Japanese practicioners. Still others of his students traveled to South America,southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Many died on their travels.
Linnaeus's Scientific Thought
Linnaeus loved nature deeply, and always retained a sense of wonder at the world of living things. His religious beliefs led him to natural theology, a school of thought dating back to Biblical times but especially flourishing around 1700: since God has created the world, it is possible tounderstand God's wisdom by studying His creation. As he wrote in the preface to a late edition of Systema Naturae: Creationis telluris est gloria Dei ex opere Naturae per Hominem solum -- 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 Divine Order of God's creation, and it was the naturalist's task to construct a "naturalclassification" that would reveal this Order in the universe. However, Linnaeus's plant taxonomy was based solely on the number and arrangement of the reproductive organs; a plant's class was determined by its stamens (male organs), and its order by its pistils. This resulted in many groupings that seemed unnatural. For instance, Linnaeus's Class Monoecia, Order Monadelphia included plants with...
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