Deus creavit, Linnaeus disposuit. Translation: God created, Linnaeus organized.
This was Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus’s mantra. Considered the father of modern taxonomy, Linnaeus created a system that classified about 4,400 animals and 7,700 plants into an increasingly specific framework of kingdom, class, order, genus and species, tagging each with a two-part Latin name. His naming system, known as binomial nomenclature, became the standard scientific lingo and is still used today.
In honor of Linnaeus’s birth, 300 years ago this past May (check out our homage, "Organization Man," by Kennedy Warne, in our May issue), Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is displaying the botanist’s personal copy of his seminal book,