Google Doodle celebrates Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman to receive a PhD
Google is celebrating Elena Cornaro Piscopia's 373rd Birthday. Elena Cornaro Piscopia was a Venetian philosopher of noble descent, who was one of the first women to receive an academic degree from a university and in 1678 she became the first woman in the world to receive a Ph.D. degree.
Piscopia was born into a noble family on 5 June 1646 in Venice, Italy, and recognised as a prodigy at just seven years old.
By the advice from Giovanni Fabris, a priest who was a friend of the family, she began a classical education.
She studied Latinand Greek under distinguished instructors, and became proficient in these languages, as well as French and Spanish, by the age of seven. She also mastered Hebrew and Arabic, earning the title of "Oraculum Septilingue". Her later studies included mathematics, philosophy and theology.
Elena came to be an expert musician. In addition to mastering the sciblis of her time-which means she mastered almost the entire body of knowledge-Elena mastered the harpsichord, the clavichord, the harp and the violin. Her skills were shown by the music that she composed in her lifetime.
In her late teens and early twenties she became interested in physics, astronomy and linguistics.
She received a Doctorate of Philosophy after she had (earned, but had) been denied the degree of Doctor of Theology. What makes this degree unique is that the university did not offer another Ph.D. to a woman for seventy years.
After receiving her degree Elena spent the last seven years of her life focusing on learning and ministering to the poor while catering to the discussions that people from around the world came to have with her.
Elena died July 26, 1684 of tuberculosis.