Related Resources

Science 

February New Science Book Feature

Two hundred and fifty years ago, the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus set out to order and name the entire living world and ended up founding a science: the field of scientific classification, or taxonomy. Yet, in spite of Linnaeus’s pioneering work and the genius of those who followed him, from Darwin to E. O. Wilson, taxonomy went from being revered as one of the most significant of intellectual pursuits to being largely ignored. Today, taxonomy is viewed by many as an outdated field, one nearly irrelevant to the rest of science and of even less interest to the rest of the world.

Now, as Carol Kaesuk Yoon, biologist and longtime science writer for the New York Times, reminds us in Naming Nature, taxonomy is critically important, because it turns out to be much more than mere science. It is also the latest incarnation of a long-unrecognized human practice that has gone on across the globe, in every culture, in every language since before time: the deeply human act of ordering and naming the living world.

In Naming Nature, Yoon takes us on a guided tour of science’s brilliant, if sometimes misguided, attempts to order and name the overwhelming diversity of earth’s living things. We follow a trail of scattered clues that reveals taxonomy’s real origins in humanity’s distant past. Yoon’s journey brings us from New Guinea tribesmen who call a giant bird a mammal to the trials and tribulations of patients with a curious form of brain damage that causes them to be unable to distinguish among living things.

Finally, Yoon shows us how the reclaiming of taxonomy—a renewed interest in learning the kinds and names of things around us—will rekindle humanity’s dwindling connection with wild nature. Naming Nature has much to tell us, not only about how scientists create a science but also about how the progress of science can alter the expression of our own human nature. 27 illustrations.
 
 
 
 
 
Click on the book to have a sneak peek! 
 
 
 
Sound interesting? Why not visit the library or place a hold on the book.

Reviews
Publisher's Weekly
O Magazine
New York Times
 
About the author - Carol Kaesuk Yoon
 
Carol's Website
Her Facebook Page
Recent and archived New York Times articles
 
Carol Kaesuk Yoon received her Ph.D. PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University and has been writing about biology for The New York Times since 1992. Her articles have also appeared in Science, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Yoon has taught writing as a Visiting Scholar at Cornell University’s John S. Knight Writing Program, working with professors to help teach critical thinking in biology classes. She has also served as a science education consultant to Microsoft. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.

If you like this book then you might like...
 
This is not a weasel : a close look at nature's most confusing terms / Philip B. Mortenson.
 
Every living thing : man's obsessive quest to catalog life, from nanobacteria to new monkeys / Rob R. Dunn ; preface by E.O. Wilson.
 
The variety of life : a survey and a celebration of all the creatures that have ever lived/ Colin Tudge.
 
Links
 
The International Council of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS) is the international organization for all scholars who have a special interest in the study of names (place-names, personal names, and proper names of all other kinds).
 
The American Name Society was founded in 1951 to promote onomastics, the study of names and naming practices, both in the United States and abroad.

 


Find this article at

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Free wi-fi

Friends of the library

The Library Foundation

Bookmark and Share

Sign up for the newsletter

© Springfield-Greene County Library District