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1-min read

Google Doodle Remembers Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the First Woman to Receive Doctorate

As Google celebrates the 373rd birth anniversary of Elena Cornaro Piscopia, here are a few things about the genius academician that you should know.

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Updated:June 5, 2019, 11:39 AM IST
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Google Doodle Remembers Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the First Woman to Receive Doctorate
Google celebrates Elena Cornaro Piscopia's birth anniversary with a doodle by Alyssa Winans
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Google is celebrating the c birth anniversary of Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman to earn a PhD, with a doodle. Born on June 5, 1646, in Venice, Italy, Elena was recognised as a prodigy at the age of seven. Also known as Helen Cornaro, Elena was born in an Italian noble family and was an Italian philosopher and academic. As Google celebrates the birth anniversary of Elena, who also became the first woman in the world to receive an academic degree from a university, here are a few things about the genius academician that you should know:

Elena Cornaro Piscopia was multilingual

The first woman PhD holder spoke seven languages fluently. She started learning Greek and Latin at the age of seven. Apart from her native language Italian, Piscopia could speak Hebrew, Spanish, French, and Arabic.

The first woman in the world to receive a PhD

Piscopia was the first woman to receive a PhD in 1678. She studied at the University of Padua. Despite being an excellent scholar in theology, Piscopia was forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church to receive a degree in theology. Therefore, she was granted a PhD in philosophy at the age of 32.

A celibate throughout life

Elena took a vow of celibacy at the age of 11. She remained celibate throughout her life and turned down various marriage proposals without telling her vow to anyone. She dedicated the last seven years of her life to charity.

Acknowledged as the most learned woman in Italy at the age of 19

Being a child with extraordinary talents, Elena’s knowledge of philosophy, theology, grammar, mathematics, science and astronomy made her the most learned woman in Italy in her late teenage. She also mastered the harpsichord, clavichord, harp, and violin and was an excellent singer.

She died at the age of 38

Piscopia died on July 26, 1684 due to tuberculosis. She was buried in the Church of Santa Giustina at Padua and a statue was built at the University of Padua.

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