Series

Language & Taxonomy (or, How to Get a Species Named after You) Online Event

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 | 6:30 p.m.

Every living thing on Earth needs a name. In the 21st century, the need for new names is acute. Genetic research is rapidly distinguishing new species among organisms once thought to be the same. And habitat destruction adds more urgency — we need to name things before they go extinct. Ever since Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus created binomial nomenclature in 1753, animals have had two names: the common one that varies from language to language, and  a double-barreled Latin scientific name. But where do those names come from? Join science writer Alison Koontz for a lively discussion of how those names happen, what the conventions are, and who gets to choose. Koontz holds a PhD in biology, and once managed to name a tapeworm species after her mother.

Language & is made possible by the generous support of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation.