1711 - 1778

Newtonian physics into Italy

An Italian physicist and academic, Laura Bassi was the first woman to have a doctorate in science and became the first salaried woman teacher at a university at age 21. Her interests were in experimental and Newtonian physics, and she was key in introducing these subjects to Italy. She presented papers on mathematics, pneumatics, fluid dynamics, mechanics, optics and electricity and authored 28 papers mostly on physics and hydraulics.

At age 65, she was appointed to the Chair of Experimental Physics at the University of Bologna, the only woman to hold such a position for more than a century after.

An outspoken advocate for educating women in science, she fought for open enrolment of women at universities.

-> Laura Bassi 's biography is available at ETH Zurich Library @swisscovery

Written by: Gina Cannarozzi.