The different branches of botany (red) and their links with allied sciences (yellow)
History of botany
The forerunners of botanists were men and women who collected herbs for medical use long before philosophers turned to the scientific study of nature. However, the title of "father of botany" goes to Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle, whose Inquiry into Plants sought to classify the types, parts, and uses of the members of the plant kingdom. Passing over the work of the elder Pliny and that of his contemporary, Dioscorides, botany received few further lasting contributions until the Renaissance, the intervening period making do with the more or less fabulous "herbals" of the medical botanists.
The most famous pre-Darwinian classification of the plant kingdom was that of Linnaeus, in which modern binomial names first appeared (1753). While Nehemiah Grew and John Ray had laid the foundations for plant anatomy and physiology in the 17th and 18th centuries, and Hooke had even identified the cell (1665) with the aid of the microscope, these subjects were not actively pursued until the 19th century when Robert Brown identified the nucleus and Theodor Schwann proposed his comprehensive cell theory. The work of Charles Darwin revolutionized the theory of classification, while that of Gregor Mendel pointed the way to a true science of plant breeding.
About this site:
The Worlds of David Darling is a large on-line collection of information on all aspects of science, technology, mathematics, philosophy, history, and science fiction. It has been developed, and is updated daily, by author and astronomer David Darling.
It contains two major encyclopedias
1. – the award-winning Encyclopedia of Science and
2. -- the Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living.
Material for these encyclopedia derives from the author's numerous books, submitted contributions from third parties, and public domain sources.
Other components of the site include a home page with regularly updated news, a number of separate news sections on topics such as health, the living world, paleontology, archeology, robotics, and technology, an extensive collection of news archives, an encyclopedia of history, and a children's encyclopedia of science.
The site first went online in 1999 and has now grown to more than 16,000 pages and approximately three million words.
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