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Laura Bassi (1711–1778): The World’s First Female University Professor

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Women of Genius in Science
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After Hypatia’s death, it would be seven centuries before another woman, Hildegard of Bingen, asserted herself in the male-dominated domain of scholarship. After her death, another six hundred years would pass before any other important female academics would make an appearance in the scientific world. Even though the universities were growing more prestigious and knowledge was accumulating in them during this period, women were strictly forbidden in academia. Only a very few could make a name for themselves in scientific circles or win a place in the lecture halls.

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  1. 1.

    An overview of her scholarly works is provided by Domenico Piani in Catalogo dei Lavori dell'Antica Accademia, raccolti sotto i singoli autori (1852). In more recent versions in: A. Elena, In lode della filosofessa di Bologna: An Introduction to Laura Bassi, Isis, 82, 3, pp. 510–518. 10.1086/35583 (; and also B. Ceranski, And She Fears No One: The Physicist Laura Bassi (1711–1778). Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. (1996).

  2. 2.

    P. Findlen, Science as a Career in Enlightenment Italy: The Strategies of Laura Bassi, University of California Press, Vol. 84, No. 3, pp. 441–469.

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Correspondence to Lars Jaeger .

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Jaeger, L. (2023). Laura Bassi (1711–1778): The World’s First Female University Professor. In: Women of Genius in Science . Springer, Cham.

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