Linnaeus

20 Apr, 2023 580 Plants

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life, ideas and legacy of the pioneering Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707 - 1778). The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau once wrote: “Tell him I know no greater man on earth”. The son of a parson, Linnaeus grew up in an impoverished part of Sweden but managed to gain a place at university. He went on to transform biology by making two major innovations. He devised a simpler method of naming species and he developed a new system for classifying plants and animals, a system that became known as the Linnaean hierarchy. He was also one of the first people to grow a banana in Europe.

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Guests

  • Staffan Muller-Wille No other episodes
    University Lecturer in History of Life, Human and Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge
  • Stella Sandford No other episodes
    Professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London
  • Steve Jones 22 episodes
    Senior Research Fellow in Genetics at University College, London

Reading list

  • The Compleat Naturalist
    Wilfrid Blunt (Frances Lincoln, 2004) Google Books →
  • The Man Who Organized Nature: The Life of Linnaeus
    Gunnar Broberg (Princeton University Press, 2023) Google Books →
  • In Worlds of Natural History
    HA Curry, N Jardine, JA Secord, and E Spary (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Sex, Botany and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks
    Patricia Fara (Icon, 2017) Google Books →
  • In Reproduction: Antiquity to the Present Day
    N Hopwood, R Flemming, and L Kassell (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Almost Like a Whale: The Origin Of Species Updated
    Steve Jones (Black Swan, 2000) Google Books →
  • Linnaeus: Nature and Nation
    Lisbet Koerner (Harvard University Press, 1999) Google Books →
  • Reason and Experience: The Representation of Natural Order in the Work of Carl Linnaeus
    James L. Larson (University of California Press, 1971) Google Books →
  • Philosophia Botanica
    Carl Linnaeus (trans. Stephen Freer) (Oxford University Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • Natural History and Information Overload: The Case of Linnaeus
    Staffan Muller-Wille and Isabelle Charmantier ( 2012)
  • "A Great Complication of Circumstances" - Darwin and the Economy of Nature
    Trevor Pearce ( 2010)
  • Linnaeus as ethnographer of Sami culture
    Nellejet Zorgdrager ( 2008)

Related episodes


Programme ID: m001l291

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001l291

Auto-category: 580 (Botanical sciences)