Laura Bassi Verati
Philosophy of Medicine,
Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics

Kate Lindemann's 

Women Philosophers


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Laura Bassi may have been the first woman appointed as chairperson of a philosophy department in all of Europe. She also was a brilliant lecturer and well known scholar at the University of Bologna. This mother of 12 children somehow balanced mothering and her professional career. She lived only 67 years - someone who burnt brightly but for a short time. Her complete name was Laura Maria Caterina Bassi Verati (or Veratti) but it is seldom that this full name is used.


1711 Laura Bassi was born in Bologna on October 31. I know nothing of her mother. Her father practiced law.

1731 At the age of 20 years, Laura Bassi was appointed Professor of Anatomy at the University of Bologna.

1732 She was was elected to the Academy of the Institute for Sciences. In this same year she wrote a treatise criticizing the theories of Descartes.

1733 In this year she was appointed Chair of Philosophy at the University of Bologna.

1738 Laura Bassi married Dr. Giuseppe Veratti. They had 12 children while she continued working often lecturing from home while the children were small. She requested greater responsibilities and a higher salary so as to cover the cost of equipment for her physical and electrical experiments

1744-45 She helped Voltaire, with whom she had been corresponding for some time, to become a member the Bologna Academy of Science.

1745 She was admitted as the twenty fifth member of the newly formed Benedettina Academy. This not only added to her income but it gave her another means of collaboration; and a place to present her work.

1746 In this year she gave the first of a series of annual papers at the Benedettina Academy. she continued these annual presentations until two years before she died.

1776 Larua Bassi returned to the University as a Professor of Experimental Physics.

1778 She died on February 20, 1778.


Note: I do not have all her works. I would appreciate names and dates from anyone who has access to this information.

1746 De aeris compressione (On the Compression of Air) presented at Benedetitina Academy.

1747 On the Bubbles Observed in Free Flowing Liquids presented at Benedetitina Academy

1748 De immixito fluidis aere (On Bubbles of Air that Escape from Fluids). presented at Benedetitina Academy .

1757 De problemate quodam mechanico and De problemate quodam hydrometrico published by the academy.


An extensive site about Laura Bassi

Encyclopedia of World Biography

See also:

Essay: Marta Cavazza on Beate Ceranski, "Und sie f├╝rchtet sich vor niemandem" Die Physikerin Laura Bassi (1711-1778), Frankfurt-New York, Campus, 1996.

Buy books at Amazon by clicking: Laura Bassi

Laura Bassi is one of more than 100 women featured in A Pictorial History of Women Philosophers photo album, and is among the nearly 40 women featured in Busted!! A Pictorial History of Women Philosophers DVD Volume 2.

This page was last updated 12/13/14.

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