Minerva's Laboratory: Laura Bassi and the Pursuit of Science in Eighteenth-Century Italy

Hosted in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in London and the Association of Italian Scientists in the UK

In the eighteenth century, Laura Bassi (1711-78) was one of the most well-known physics professors, and the only woman to occupy this position in the century of Newton. This seminar will discuss Bassi’s life and work in the university, her home laboratory, and the Bologna Academy of Sciences. How did she become the first woman to have a paid scientific career within the institutions of her time? What did it mean to be a woman of science in the eighteenth century?

Paula Findlen is Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History and Director of the Suppes Center for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at Stanford University. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she received the 2016 Premio Galileo for her contributions to the history of Italian science and culture. She has written on Bassi and her world for many years.