EXHIBITS: Victorian Plant Man

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Science  23 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5756, pp. 1877
DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5756.1877b

The British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) served as Darwin's advocate, confidante, and sounding board. But he was an influential researcher in his own right, as readers can learn at this site from science historian Jim Endersby of Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Hooker's taxonomic studies helped untangle the species pouring in from Britain's sprawling empire in the mid- and late-1800s. He also ran the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew for 20 years and pushed to transform botany from a genteel hobby into a profession. The site's biography touches on Hooker's early collecting expeditions, which took him from New Zealand to the Himalayas, and his struggle to find a permanent job. He didn't land a secure position until his father hired him to be assistant director at Kew in 1855. Visitors can also browse a selection of Hooker's writings, including his description of Darwin's botanical specimens from the Galápagos Islands.


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