17th April

On this day in 1732, Prospero Lambertini (then Archbishop of Bologna, who later became Pope Benedict XIV) set up a debate between his 20 year-old protegée Laura Bassi and four professors from Bologna. The debate was held in the grand Palazzo Pubblico in Bologna and Bassi defended forty-nine philosophical theses. She was later appointed to a professorship at Bologna: the first female professor at a European University.