Carl Linnaeus (Latinized: Carolus Linnaeus; originally Carl Nilsson Linnæus) was a Swedish botanist, naturalist, physician and zoologist. He was the first person to lay down the principles to determine the natural genera and species of organisms, and to form a uniform system for naming them (also known as binomial nomenclature). Linnaeus is considered to be the founding father of modern taxonomy as well as ecology.
Early Life and Education:
Born in Roeshult, Sweden to a Lutheran minister, Carolus Linnaeus frustrated his father by showing no interest in the priesthood. When he entered the University of Lund in 1727 to study medicine, his parents were quite excited, but within a year, he was transferred to the University of Uppsala, where he took botany. Linnaeus acquired his medical degree from the University of Harderwijk, Netherlands. He received further education at the University of Leiden.
Contributions and Achievements:
Carolus Linnaeus put out his work “Systema Naturae” in 1735, the first edition of his classification of living things. He came back to Sweden in 1738 and practised medicine. In 1740, he took a teaching position at the University of Uppsala.
Linnaeus, primarily known as a naturalist and botanist, was a leading figure in the history of entomology. He laid down the binomial system of nomenclature, which became the basis for the moderm classification of living organisms. Widely known as the “father of biological systematics and nomenclature”, Linnaeus also devised the wing vein-based system for separation of orders, and set up the chronological starting point for the naming of insects.
Later Life and Death:
Carolus Linnaeus used to travel extensively in Europe. He collected and named several specimens from different countries of the world. His 1758 work “Systema Naturae 10th edition” is known to be the starting point for naming of insects. All names prior to it are considered outdated. Linnaeus was ennobled in 1761, and was later known as “Carl von Linne”.
He died of stroke in Uppsala, Sweden, on June 10, 1778.