, Volume 260, Issue 3, pp 940-941
Date: 16 Feb 2013

Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909–2012)

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Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909–2012) was born in Turin, Italy on 22 April, 1909, son of Adamo Levi, an electrical engineer and mathematician, and Adele Montalcini, a painter. Apart from her twin sister Paola, this well-to-do Jewish family included also Gino, 7 years older, and Anna (Nina), 9 years older. All family decisions were taken by Rita’s father, who, despite his great respect for women, strongly believed that a professional career interfered with the female duty and destiny of becoming wife and mother [9]. He thus decided to enroll Rita in the Scuola Superiore Femminile Margherita di Savoia in Turin, but there she ran into difficulties because of her independent thinking and performed poorly in science and mathematics. Moreover, attending the institute did not qualify her for an academic career; thus she changed to a high school and in 8 months filled her gaps in Greek, Latin, and mathematics, graduated and entered the Medical School at the University of Turin [6]. There she receiv ...