Laura’s lecture

This miniature, which belongs to the State archive of Bologna, depicts the first public lecture held by Laura Bassi on the 18th December 1732, in the Palace of the Archiginnasio. The lecture was held in the auditorium of the Artists, now the Reading Room of the Library, which appears here as it was in the 18th century.


The scientist Laura Bassi Veratti (1711 – 1778) was the first graduated woman in Bologna (the second in Italy) and the first to become a lecturer, obtaining the chair of biology and physics at the University of Bologna.

The achievement of the university chair for the teaching of Physics, which was called natural philosophy at that time, was an exceptional event, even if the Senate made it clear that her mandate was restricted and that young Laura Bassi could teach at the Archiginnasio only if she was legitimized by her superiors.