Play • 52 min
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.


Staffan Muller-Wille
University Lecturer in History of Life, Human and Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge

Stella Sandford
Professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London


Steve Jones
Senior Research Fellow in Genetics at University College, London

Producer Luke Mulhall
More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu