Linnaeus’ Personal Qualifications

Linnaeus was driven by a powerful thirst for knowledge and had the capacity to see details in his surroundings and to systematize his observations. In today’s research policies we encounter the concepts of basic research and applied research. Basic research is more unconditionally devoted to the creation of a store of knowledge. Applied research has a more utilitarian aim. Linnaeus’ work included both the basic research question of the cause of a disease (pathogenesis) and studies of appropriate treatment, that is, how certain information can be used. Linnaeus must have possessed a great deal of buoyant and persuasive charisma. This is something he had even as a child. As an adult he gives the impression of easily being able to win the confidence of those around him. Those in power supported him. The great number of students he attracted indicates that Linnaeus could enthuse others, arouse interest in research, and be the leader, in the sense that he was authoritarian and at the same time inspiring. Of course, we might perhaps question how much concern he felt for the students he sent to distant parts of the world. His time as a medical practitioner was relatively short. His interest in research and more academic work occupied most of his time. In his encounters with patients, however, he does seem to have inspired trust.

Last modified: 2022-02-16