Samantha Oltman

Date of Publication: 06.12.15

Follow Friday: Exploring the Wild World of Botany

Astrophysicists get to study the whole wide universe. Evolutionary biologists get to study the very origins of life. Botanists, they get…plants. It’s a humble field. In Harry Potter terms, it’s like skipping the fun Hogwarts classes—Dark Arts, Charms, Care of Magical Animals—in favor of Herbology.

And indeed, interest in botany is declining. In the past 25 years, the number of research universities offering botany degrees has been cut in half, and other universities are closing or culling their collections of plant specimens, which are vital for botany studies. This is no good—as the science journal Nature points out in a recent op-ed, “botany underpins the modern world, not only agriculture, but medicine, material science, and chemistry.” So for this Follow Friday, let’s give plants a little love. They could use it. Read more.