The second woman to graduate from university in Italy, Laura Bassi, was the first to take up an academic and scientific career, becoming the first woman to be granted a chair as a university professor.
Aware of her strong intellect, her family provided her with private education in disciplines that were not accessible to women at the time, such as physics, metaphysics, and psychology.
After graduating, she was assigned the honorary chair of philosophy at the University of Bologna but could only teach on special occasions and with her superiors’ approval. In 1754, Pope Benedict XIV nominated her a Benedictine academic, ignoring the opposition of her colleagues.
She launched a thriving class of experimental physics in her home laboratory and received one of the highest university salaries.