The Linnean Society of London is the world's biggest society for the study and discussion of taxonomy and natural history. It publishes a Zoological Journal, as well as Botanical and Biological Journals. It also prints The Linnean, a review of the history of the society and of taxonomy.
The Linnean Society was started in 1788. It was named after the Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus. The Society is based at Burlington House in Piccadilly, London. Members can be a Student member, an Associate member or a full Fellow. To become a member, a person needs to be nominated by two or more Fellows, and succeed in an election. Fellows of the society can use the letters FLS after their names to show their membership of the Society (for example, John Smith FLS).
Medals and prizes
The Linnean Society of London wants to promote the study of all areas of the biological sciences. They especially want to promote the study of evolution, taxonomy, biodiversity and sustainability. The Society awards medals and grants to help with this.
The following medals and prizes are awarded by the Linnean Society:
- The Linnean Medal was started in 1888. It was awarded (until 1958) to a botanist one year and to a zoologist the next year. Since 1958 it has been awarded to one of each in the same year.
- The H. H. Bloomer Award was started in 1963. The money comes from a legacy from the amateur naturalist Harry Howard Bloomer. It is awarded to an amateur naturalist who has made an important contribution to biology.
- The Bicentenary Award was started in 1978, on the 200th anniversary of the death of Linnaeus. It is given to someone who has done important work and who is under the age of 40 years.
- The Jill Smythies Award was started in 1986. It is awarded for botanical illustrations.
- The Irene Manton Prize was started in 1990. It is awarded for the best dissertation in botany during an academic year.
- The Darwin-Wallace Medal is awarded for very important advances in evolutionary biology.
Linnaeus' botanical and zoological collections were bought in 1783 by Sir James Edward Smith, the first President of the society. They are held in London by the Society. The collections include 14,000 plants, 158 fish, 1,564 shells, 3,198 insects, 1,600 books and 3,000 letters and documents. If you want to see them, you need to make an appointment.
James Smith's own plant collection is also kept by the Society. It has been put into a database by the Smith Herbarium Project at the National Museums Liverpool. 6,000 plants have been cleaned and repaired.
Linnean Societies worldwide
- Linnean Society of New South Wales
- Société linnéenne du Québec
- La Société Linnéenne de la Seine maritime
- Société linnéenne de Lyon
- Société linnéenne de Provence
- Société Linnéenne de Bordeaux
- Société Linnéenne de Normandie
- The Swedish Linnaeus Society
- The Linnean Society of London
- The Linnean Society of Lake Superior, Inc.
- The Linnaean Society of New York
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