Finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology. “A lively blend of popular scientific history and cultural criticism.”—New York Times Book Review
Biologist Carol Kaesuk Yoon explores the historical tension between evolutionary biology and taxonomy. Carl Linnaeus struggled in the eighteenth century to define species in light of their mutability while still relying on intuitive, visual judgments. As taxonomy modernized, it moved into labs, yielding results counterintuitive to humanity’s innate predisposition to order the world. By conceding scientific authority to taxonomists, Yoon argues, we’ve contributed to our own alienation from nature.
About the Author
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.
A beautiful riddle of a book. — Time Out New York
Impossible to put down. — Booklist
Starred Review: Superb. — Kirkus Reviews
A sensuous delight to read. — O, The Oprah Magazine
Starred Review: Optimistic, exhilarating, and revolutionary. — Publishers Weekly
Bracing and brilliant. — Boston Globe
Ingenious . . . compelling. — San Francisco Chronicle