Italian natural philosopher. Born 1711, died 1778.
The daughter of a Bolognese lawyer, Laura Bassi received the finest private education money could buy. In 1731, the very young Bassi was appointed Profesor of Anatomy at the University of Bologna. The following year, she attained membership in the Accademia delle Scienze dell'Istituto di Bologna, and the year after that, in 1733, she was given the Chair of Philosophy at Bologna.
With twelve (yes, twelve!) children from her marriage with Giuseppe Veratti, she nevertheless managed to devote herself to the study of physics - in particular, Newtonian physics. While her children were small, she conducted lectures from her home, and when they were grown, she returned to the university - becoming a Professor in Experimental Physics in 1776, at age 65.
Laura Bassi was only the second woman in European history to hold a chair at a university, the first being Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia.