THIS week in 1743, one of the most in­flu­en­tial fig­ures in nat­u­ral sciences was born.

First News - - Science News -

Joseph Banks (be­low) was a botanist who made his name dur­ing an ex­pe­di­tion to Labrador and New­found­land (which are now part of Canada), where he col­lected var­i­ous plants, an­i­mals and rocks. He was later in­vited on board the HMS En­deav­our to set sail on Cap­tain James Cook’s first voy­age across the Pa­cific Ocean.

Banks was re­spon­si­ble for in­tro­duc­ing around 1,300 new species to the West­ern world, in­clud­ing Eu­ca­lyp­tus and Mi­mosa. Over 70 species now bear his name, in­clud­ing an Aus­tralian wild­flower called Banksia.

As well as be­com­ing Pres­i­dent of the Royal So­ci­ety, Banks was hon­orary di­rec­tor at Kew Gar­dens and was knighted in 1781.

A Banksia wild­flower

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