“Most scientists are driven by the same curiosity, regardless of whether it’s about flowers or stars,” said Michel Major, professor of astronomy.
Dr. Jane Goodall, an ethnologist renowned for her research on chimpanzees in the wild, compared the work of Linnaeus with the theories of the ancient Egyptians regarding the heavens and heavenly bodies, which were also far ahead of their time.
“In the same way, it’s fantastic that Linnaeus was able to form a sufficiently clear conception of the complexity of living things to create his classification system 300 years ago. It’s incredible that we still use it today,” said Goodall.
The honorary doctors were asked how we can get more girls to become interested in scientific subjects. According to Professor Gaalen Ericson, a world leader in the didactics of science and in research on training teachers, it’s all about teaching.
“My colleagues and I are busy researching how teaching can be improved across the board. A child’s relationship to science develops at a very early age, and we must be careful not to destroy this interest in secondary education,” Ericson warned.
“Above all, we have to eliminate the built-in screening mechanisms in society that make us assume that only men become scientists,” said Ellinor Ostrom, professor of political science.
Ostrom has developed theories regarding how commons can be managed on the basis of the key concept of trust—theories that are fundamental in several social sciences today and can be used to describe the concept of the welfare state.
“Problems arise when people no longer trust one another, but rather start to exploit the system for fear that other’s are doing so. The question is how we can get people to trust their fellow human beings, sometimes all of humanity,” she explains.
Some of the honorary doctors have also attended other parts of the Linnaeus celebrations in Uppsala, including the grand birthday party on Wednesday. One of them is Professor Robert A. Weinberg, one of the most prominent tumor biologists of our time.
“An impressive and extremely festive ceremony. Linnaeus was certainly worthy of being celebrated in this grand manner. After all, he laid the entire intellectual groundwork and conceptual framework that Darwin later used to develop his theory of evolution,” said Weinberg.