The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Linnæus, Carolus

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LINNÆUS, lĭ-nē'ŭs, Carolus, the Latinized form of the name of Carl von Linne, Swedish botanist: b. Rashult, Smäland, 23 May 1707; d. Upsala, 10 Jan. 1778. He showed an early interest in botany; entered the University of Lund, where his botanical tastes were encouraged by Kilian Stobæus, physician to the king, from whose library he was supplied with necessary books. In 1728 he went to Upsala, where he undertook the supervision of the botanic garden. Here he made the acquaintance of the botanist, Rudbeck, whose assistant he became, and assisted Olof Celsius in the preparation of the latter's ‘Hierobotanicon.’ Aided by the Academy of Sciences at Upsala, Linne made a journey about 4,600 miles through Lapland, the result of which was shown in his ‘Flora Lapponica,’ published 1737. In this year he went to the University of Harderwyk in Holland and took an M.D. degree, and later visited Leyden, where he published his first sketch of his ‘Systema Naturæ’ and ‘Fundamenta Botanica.’ In 1736 he visited England, and in September 1738 settled in Stockholm as a physician. He slowly acquired a practice, was made naval physician of Stockholm and obtained some minor appointments. He became professor of medicine at Upsala in 1741, exchanging for that of botany in 1742. He was ennobled in 1761. During his professorship of botany he drew students from all over the civilized world, increasing the number attendant on the university from 500 to 1,500. The importance of Linnæus' work can scarcely be overrated. It has been said that “he found biology a chaos; he left it a cosmos.” He it was who established the systematic botany and zoology of modern times. He first announced the principles for the definition of genera and species, and established the binominal nomenclature of both. He was a careful observer, a methodical worker and a clear and succinct writer. As a teacher he was of great influence in revolutionizing the methods of botanical study. He published more than 180 works, among which the most important are ‘Systema Naturæ’ (1735); ‘Fundamenta Botanica’ (1736); ‘Genera Plantarum’ (1737); ‘Flora Lapponica’ (1737); ‘Classes Plantarum’ (1738); ‘Fauna Suecica’ (1745); ‘Flora Suecica’ (1746); ‘Hortus Upsaliensis’ (1748); ‘Philosophia Botanica’ (1751); and, chief of all, ‘Species Plantarum’ (1753). The Linnæan Society of London was founded in his honor in 1788. Consult ‘Life’ by Stoever (Eng. trans. 1794); Caddy, ‘Through the Fields with Linnæus’ (1877); Fries, ‘Linné, Lefnadsteekning’ (2 vols., Stockholm 1903); Levertin, ‘Carl von Linne’ (ib. 1906).