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Great Scientists

Carl Linnaeus

1707 - 1778

Carolus Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus was a prolific writer, publishing books, lavishly illustrated, throughout his life. Through his travels, studies and collections, he developed a system of taxonomic nomenclature which is the basis of the modern system.

  • Nationality
  • Swedish

  • Subject
  • Biology, botanist

  • Fields
  • Taxonomy, zoology, ecology

  • Distinctions
  • The Linnaean System of species classification is named after him.

    Sometimes referred to as the 'Father of Modern Ecology'.

  • Publications
  • Linnaeus used the Latin form of his name (Carolus Linnaeus) in many of his writings, most of which were also in Latin.

    Praeludia Sponsaliorum Plantarum, 1729 Thesis on plant sexual reproduction.

    Genera Plantarum, 1730

    Critica Botanica, c. 1730

    Flora Lapponica, based on his journey around Lapland in 1732. In this book he describes 100 previously unidentified plants.

    Systema Naturae, 1735, which outlines a plant classification system.

    Fundamenta Botanica, c. 1735

    Bibliotheca Botanica, c. 1735

    Genera Plantarum, 1737, describing 935 genera of plants, with a supplement Corollarium Generum Plantarum.

    Hortus Cliffortianus, 1738

    Flora Suecica, 1745

    Fauna Suecica, 1

  • Theories
  • Linnaeus' book, Systema Naturae, established the binomial (e.g. homo sapiens) nomenclature system, which consists of generic name and specific name of the species. If Linnaeus had not been the only creator and user of the binomial system, he was certainly instrumental in its dissemination.

Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus: extract from 1758 tenth edition of Systema Naturae

Linnaeus' Systema Naturae was published in 1735, but reached a tenth edition by 1758, when it had grown to 4,400 animal species and 7,700 plants. The book established the binomial (e.g. homo sapiens) nomenclature system, which consists of generic name and specific name of the species. If Linnaeus had not been the only creator and user of the binomial system, he was certainly instrumental in its dissemination.

Linnaeus is also responsible for correcting Anton Celcius' thermal scale. Originally, in 1742, Celcius had set 0°C as the boiling point of water, and 100°C as the freezing point. Linnaeus convinced him to invert it to the system used today.

After his death, Linnaeus' collection of 14,00 plants, 3,198 insects, 1,564 shells, 3,000 letters, and 1,600 books, was moved to be housed by the Linnaean Society of London.