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EDUCATION - EDITORIAL

Elena Cornaro Piscopia Became the First Woman to Earn a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in 1678

Google celebrates the 373rd birthday of Italian philosopher and theologian Elena Cornaro Piscopia, who pioneered women's academic career. Today's Doodle also tributes to women who have devoted their lives to science.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Google celebrates the 373rd birthday of Italian philosopher and theologian Elena Cornaro Piscopia - Image Credit: Google Doodle

Google celebrates the 373rd birthday of Italian philosopher and theologian Elena Cornaro Piscopia - Image Credit: Google Doodle

EDUCATION - EDITORIAL

by Beren Dere

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Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia was born in 1646 to a noble family. Her mother and her father made every effort to give her a good education. When Elena was seven years old, she was educated in Latin and Greek languages, inspired by the family's friend. Elena Cornaro Piscopia, who has yet to prove that this is a special talent, learned Hebrew, Spanish, French, and Arabic in a very short time. Elena, who was also very talented in music, also learned to play the harpsichord, clavichord, harp, and violin.

Her first focus was on mathematics and astronomy, but her main interest was on philosophy and theology. On her father's insistence, she enrolled at the University of Padua in 1672 when she was twenty-six years old. She deepened her work and research and applied for the Doctorate of Theology. However, the committee, which had strict rules, rejected the application because they did not accept the role of women in theology.

Elena Cornaro Piscopia, again with her father's support, applied for the Doctorate of Philosophy. The professors, students, and senators who wanted to hear her oral examination in 1678 were so much so that examination was performed in Padua Cathedral, not in the university lecture hall where the exam was planned, and many spectators watched this heated discussion.

Elena Cornaro Piscopia successfully completed the oral examination with her scientific and cultural background she revealed in the Padua Cathedral. And Elena Cornaro Piscopia became the first woman in the world to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. Elena gave women a way to listen to their hearts and follow the academic goals, and she changed the academic history.

She began teaching mathematics at the University of Padua but was constantly confronted with obstacles and forced to fight. She died on July 26, 1684 at the age of 38. But even after about four centuries, we commemorate her name and offers our respects for what she has done.