First woman to earn a Ph.D. honored with 'Google Doodle'

Lady Elena earned an advanced degree in philosophy from the University of Padua over 300 years ago.

June 5, 2019 11:03
First woman to earn a Ph.D. honored with 'Google Doodle'

Elena Cornaro Piscopia honored with a 'Google Doodle'. (photo credit: GOOGLE)


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The Padua Cathedral in Italy was packed with professors, senators and students from surrounding universities to hear Lady Elena Cornaro Piscopia deliver her graduation speech on the works Aristotle. That day in June 1678 marked the first time in modern history a woman earned a PhD degree.

She was honored with a Google Doodle on her 373rd birthday. The search engine regularly honors distinctive individuals by replacing their normal logo with an artistic depiction.
Lady Elena was viewed as a child prodigy and studied Latin and Greek, eventually mastering many languages including Hebrew and Arabic. She later moved on to mathematics, philosophy and theology and was a proficient musician and multi-instrumentalist.

Her published works include books on religion and geometry.

Her graduation ceremony is depicted on a large stained-glass window in the Vassar College library.

Lady Elena's legacy continues every year in her native Venice and other cities where memorial services are held.

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