Stanford University to Archive Papers of Europe’s First Woman Professor

Laura Bassi was an 18th century Italian scientist. She was the second woman in Europe to earn a university degree and the first woman to be offered a teaching post at a European University.

There are more than 6,000 pages of her papers at the Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archinginnasio in Bologna. Up to now the papers have been accessible only to researchers who visit the library. But now, Stanford University has reached an agreement to scan the documents and make them available online later this year. Stanford researchers will develop the website and translate the documents, many of which are handwritten.

Paula Findlen, the Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History at Stanford, states, “Bassi was widely admired as an excellent experimenter and one of the best teachers of Newtonian physics of her generation. She inspired some of the most important male scientists of the next generation while also serving as a public example of a woman shaping the nature of knowledge in an era in which few women could imagine playing such a role.”

Professor Findlen has been on the Stanford faculty since 1996. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Filed Under: ForeignWomen's Studies


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