Happy Linnaeus Day!!

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Today is the 300th birthday of Linnaeus, aka Carl Linnaeus, Carolus Linnaeus, Carl von Linn̩, Carl Linn̩, etc. etc. Oh, heck, just call him Carl. Happy birthday, Carl! NPR reports that more than 600 birthday parties/science education events are going on around the planet this week Рnone bigger than in Sweden:

This month marks the 300th birthday of Carl Linnaeus, Sweden’s beloved botanist who gave order to the plant and animal kingdoms.

The Swedes will celebrate on Wednesday with a jubilee in Uppsala, complete with Linnaeus cream cakes.

And well they should, “Carl Linnaeus is by far the most internationally well-known Swede that has ever lived”!

Break out the meatballs while you’re at it! The NPR story also goes a bit into how DNA and the proliferation of ranks are continually changing Linnaeus’s system.

Sadly, there is nothing in the story about Hennig and cladistics – Hennig’s 100th is coming up in 2013 – but even if rank-free taxonomy completely takes over eventually, I bet Linnaeus will still cast enough of a shadow to get some birthday parties in 2107.

Here is the official Linnaeus 2007 website.

HT: Brent Mishler

25 Comments

Carl Linnaeus is by far the most internationally well-known Swede that has ever lived

If only because most people can’t remember the names of the singers in the pop group ABBA.

(FYI: ABBA is Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad - All easy-to-remember names…)

This article is also good:

He was also ambitious and spectacularly egotistical (“Nobody has been a greater botanist or zoologist,” he once wrote). By the age of twenty-five he had already completed an expedition to Lapland, sponsored by the Royal Society of Science in Uppsala. He later depicted his journey as a perilous adventure among dangerous natives in uncharted regions. But in her 1999 biography, Linnaeus: Nature and Nation, the historian Lisbet Koerner of Imperial College London concludes that he probably spent no more than a few weeks among the Sami people there. He also claimed double the distance he actually traveled, possibly because he was being paid by the mile.

Yeah, but anyone who has ever hiked with a botanist knows that it takes at least twice as long to get anywhere.

The Linnaean system incorporated three important innovations, none of them completely original. First, Linnaeus classified flowering plants according to the number of stamens and pistils, the male and female parts, in each flower. Such a simplistic sexual system was, he knew, artificial (other botanists soon replaced it with a reliance on a broader range of traits). But it instantly opened up the botanical world to anyone who could look into a flower and count. Second, he devised precise rules for describing any species, which, again, even beginners could follow. And third, he gradually introduced his binomial system. A species that used to suffer under the name Arum summis labris degustantes mutos reddens became instead simply Arum maculatum.

Linnaeus shrewdly served up this new system with a lyrical dollop of sexual innuendo. He described flower petals as “the bridal bed,” perfumed and hung with “precious bed-curtains,” awaiting “the time for the bridegroom to embrace his beloved bride.” He spoke blithely of two brides in bed with one husband (two pistils and one stamen).

[…]

From the start, Linnaeus also attracted critics. The German botanist Johann Georg Siegesbeck protested that Linnaeus was turning innocent flower gardens into beds of harlotry. Linnaeus, who suffered criticism poorly, responded by giving the name Siegesbeckia to a small, foul-smelling weed.

What’s Swedish for “Oh, snap!”?

Ach, Schnappes!

More famous than Nobel?

Great, now we’re going to be accused of worshipping Linnaeus, and being Evangelical Linnaeuns.

Linnaeus shrewdly served up this new system with a lyrical dollop of sexual innuendo. He described flower petals as “the bridal bed,” perfumed and hung with “precious bed-curtains,” awaiting “the time for the bridegroom to embrace his beloved bride.” He spoke blithely of two brides in bed with one husband (two pistils and one stamen).

Yikes! All my carefully framed nature photography of wild flowers is flower porn? I hope the cops don’t find out.

Only slightly off topic:

I recently toured the Swedish submarine HMS Gotland operating with the US fleet out of San Diego. It is powered under water by a Stirling engine.

It is an impressive piece of engineering, beautifully executed and efficient. Even prettier than the US boats. Don’t underestimate the Swedes.

More famous than Nobel?

Ya, ya betchya.

Yikes! All my carefully framed nature photography of wild flowers is flower porn? I hope the cops don’t find out.

I think you’re OK so long as you aren’t taking pictures of flower buds.

That would land you a child pornography charge!

I think you’re OK so long as you aren’t taking pictures of flower buds.

Oh no!

Linnaeus and Nobel are famous the same way Alessandro Volta is famous. Who wants to bet on the outcome of walking a random street comparing Linnaeus or Nobel with Bjorn Borg?

Took the words right out of my mouth snaxalotl. Borg would be a distant first in that group, and Nobel second if “the dude with the prizes” is sufficient. I’ll bet not one American in 1,000 could tell you anything about Linneaus.

What’s Swedish for “Oh, snap!”?

“Tjoflöjt sa Janne Vängman”

If you make it all the way up to Uppsala, where Linneaus established his system and were later buried, I can recommend the pastry at the coffee shop in the Linneaus Garden in the towns center. There are many more places to visit and much else to do, see the official website Nick linked to.

Speaking of hubris, Linnaeus had more apostles than the christian bible, 17 of them (see Nick’s link). Apparently he choose that description himself.

The apostles travels were mostly financed by new The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences giving out a calendar - in lieu of good scientific intentions they had to give in and include the superstition of the farmers schedules of weather predictions.

One apostle was Daniel Solander, traveling among the botanists that were first on Australia with James Cooks first voyage. 7 of the apostles died on the trip; one of those had bankrupted and his research material had to be bought free.

Yesterday Uppsala (Linneaus and mine alma mater) was visited by the King (Carl XVI Gustaf, Carl Gustaf) and by his guest His Imperial Majesty the Emperor (Heisei, Akihito). The dudes went to party at Uppsala castle.

You can also read about Wilkins descriptions of Linneaus and his species concepts here: http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingtho[…]linnaeus.php and here: http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingtho[…]pecies_1.php .

On the flower business, just let us say that swedes somehow always gets accused of lascivious behavior.

C.W. Wrote:

“Tjoflöjt sa Janne Vängman”

Cute, but I haven’t heard that one, slightly dialectal I think, for years.

“Ã… fan!” is what comes to my mind. Roughly, “Oh, the devil you say!”.

Swedes still suffers somewhat under the burdens of protestantism and even earlier superstition, where blasphemy is the strongest expression. Under international influence the range of emotive expressions is slowly widened. But right now I can’t think of a good new one here.

C.W. Wrote:

“Tjoflöjt sa Janne Vängman”

I got curious - it’s origin is literary. It is from a series of novels where the main figure Janne Vängman was loosely pictured on real life Johannes Vänglund, apparently prone to such colorful commentary.

The quote is even the title of a book: “Tjo flöjt, sa Janne Vängman. 1936.” ( http://www.ylb.se/authors/sundstrom.html , http://www.jannevangman.nu/ ; both sites in swedish.)

Interestingly Erasmus Darwin also wrote erotic verse about the sex lives of plants. Today it’s rare that one sees anything quite like that although perhaps a Rose or a Lily might find her way into the pages of playboy. Perhaps an industry of blue plant movies could begin; something like “behind the green house door”.

Torbjörn Larsson Wrote:

Linneaus

Linnaeus, of course, this is supposedly latin.

Welcome to www.linneaus300.com

Frontline science answers the big questions about the miracle of life. Celebrating the legacy of Sweden’s great natural scientist Carl Linnaeus.

Every week on Linnaeus300.com you’ll find a fascinating new question - and some expert answers - about life on the planet.

http://www.linnaeus300.com

/adam

Welcome to www.linneaus300.com

Frontline science answers the big questions about the miracle of life. Celebrating the legacy of Sweden’s great natural scientist Carl Linnaeus.

Every week on Linnaeus300.com you’ll find a fascinating new question - and some expert answers - about life on the planet.

http://www.linnaeus300.com

/adam

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Today 14 honorary doctors were promoted in Uppsala University to the memory of Carl von Linné. Among the promoted were Sir David Attenborough, Jane Godall, James Watson and Kofi Annan.

The latest issue of National Geographic just appeared on the newsstands. It contains an article about Linnaeus along with a few of those “pornographic” pictures of flowers.

telepathic theater Wrote:

[paraphrasing]dude … the carpet’s … like… moving …

personally, I recommend people on hallucinogens should get out in the sunshine; go for a walk or something, instead of wasting it in front of a computer

Im so happy, I ive got to get everything perfect for my wedding, I hope we get good weather

Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on May 23, 2007 1:52 PM.

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