The Linnean Society and E. O. Wilson

This afternoon, I joined a few coworkers and went to a talk given at the Linnean Society of London. The speaker? E. O. Wilson and the topic was Carl von Linne.

Earlier this year Mark and I were in Lund, Sweden. Linneas attended Lund University, and this year being his 300th birthday anniversary year, there were talks pertaining to Linne (in Swedish) and exhibits at the university library of some of his works and school papers. He was only there a year and rumored to be a poor student.  I am a student of taxonomy, of Linneas, and am following in his footsteps in my own way.

Under portraits of Linneas, Darwin, Wallace and other like minded biological greats, Wilson talked about Systema Naturae and binomial nomenclature. No surprises in the talk to anyone in attendance, I think we were all biologists. Wilson even touched on the plight of the natural historian, a favorite rant of mine, which made my heart sing to hear some of my personal feelings being spoken by such an influential biologist.  He made pleas that we should all be working to get more “-ologies” (taxonomy courses) taught in universities and increasing interest in taxonomy and systematics.

I’m glad I went to see him speak. After all, as a coworker put it, you need to see people like this speak before they’re gone.