Naming Nature

Naming Nature : The Clash Between Instinct and Science

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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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 137.16 x 203.2 x 22.86mm | 294.83g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 27 black-and-white illustrations
  • 0393338711
  • 9780393338713
  • 535,065

Back cover copy

Advance praise for Naming Nature: "Original, delightful, and wise. . . . Yoon descends from the best writers of popular science, Stephen Jay Gould and Brian Greene among them."-Sue Halpern, author of Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly "Naming Nature will be enjoyed by every biologist, birder, and general nature lover."-Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University, and author of The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment "Naming Nature is rich with prickly characters, from Linnaeus to Ernst Mayr to Willi Hennig, who animate the fascinating story of how science has learned to find a deep orderliness within life's diversity."-David Quammen, author of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin "To name is to know is to be able to love, and that is biodiversity's last best hope: Such is the thesis of this compelling, quirky, beautifully written guide."-David Takacs, author of Philosophies of Paradise: The Idea of Biodiversity "A fascinating history of science, an illumination of nature's improbable exuberance, and a thoughtful evaluation of occasional conflict between man-made definitions and living reality."-Deborah Blum, author of Monkey Wars "Optimistic, exhilarating and revolutionary."-Publishers Weekly, starred reviewshow more

Review quote

"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 Chronicleshow more

About Carol Kaesuk Yoon

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, more