status of systematics
p_stevens at NOCMSMGW.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Apr 5 10:40:22 CDT 1995
I am trying to understand how systematic botany has developed the reputation
it has. One of the lines on enquiry that I am pursuing is the use by
non-systematists of the term "botany", and the possible consequences for the
discipline of this "popular" understanding. Although I have been focussing
on the 19thC, I am also looking at the period since then.
Can anyone help with 20thC references by non-botanists to botany (in the
sense of systematic botany)? Wodehouse may be one place to look, although I
haven't read him recently. Two examples (of several) I have come across
recently - I didn't invent them - are:
"The spectral classification of supernovae carries a distasteful aura of
botany for many astrophysicists." - Nature 371: 199. 1994.
Said of botany by the President of a university in the 1980s "Isn't that just
If anybody does have references, please reply to me direct. If interesting
trends become evident, I will summarise the replies for Taxacom as a whole.
On the whole, such comments seem overwhelmingly to be negative, and this is
true right through the nineteenth century and in to the eighteenth (there is
a nifty full-text poetry data base one can search...)
Peter Stevens (pstevens at nocmsmgw.harvard.edu).
More information about the Taxacom