Who was Carl Linnaeus? | Live Science

Carl Linnaeus was the famous 18th century Swedish botanist and naturalist who created the basic biological taxonomy — the so-called binomial classification system — that is the foundation of our modern taxonomic system. Linnaeus’ classification, at its most basic, uses the dual “genus, species,” nomenclature to classify organisms — everything from slime molds and bacteria to elephants and humans. All biologists, from first-year biology undergraduates to Ph.D. ecologists, use this basic system. 

Today, Linnaeus occupies an honored place among the world’s biologists, but for non-scientists he is largely a forgotten figure, often just a name faintly remembered from a half-forgotten biology class. But during his lifetime, and especially at his death, Linnaeus was a celebrity. He was praised throughout Europe as one of the continent’s greatest minds. According to Uppsala University in Sweden, the famous German poet Goethe wrote of Linnaeus, “With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly.” 

A blossoming interest in nature

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