Scientist of the Day
Laura Bassi, recipient of the third doctorate ever bestowed upon a woman, was also the first woman to become a professor at a university - the University of Bologna, in Italy.
A Physics professor, Dr. Bassi studied electricity before any other woman. She also studied and taught Newtonian physics, optics and mathematics. For 28 years she taught students at the University and produced at least one dissertation a year in a wide variety of aspects of physics.
A brilliant scientist in her own right, she received assistance from important men, including Pope Benedict XIV, who hoped to revive Bologna as a center of learning and scholarship.
Two years before she died, she was even elevated to the chair in experimental physics at the University.
A crater on Venus bears her name, and she has been honored with a statue above the Nautical Room at the college.