The Google doodle for 5 June 2019 celebrates the 373rd birthday of Italian philosopher and theologian Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman to ever receive a doctorate degree or a PhD.
Piscopia's degree came in an age when the church frowned upon women studying theology so much so that her oral examination garnered huge interest and had to be conducted in the Padua cathedral as opposed to the university to accommodate all the professors, senators and students invited from universities across Italy.
Born in Venice in 1646, Piscopia went on to learn several languages, subjects and many musical instruments such as the harpsichord, clavichord, harp and violin.
Recognising her potential when she was only seven years old, her parents gave her lessons in Greek and Latin. Later, she also became well-versed in Hebrew, Spanish, French and Arabic.
While she was an enthusiastic student of mathematics and astronomy, philosophy and theology were in fact her calling.
In 1672, when she was 26, Piscopia enrolled at the University of Padua and applied for a Doctorate of Theology against the protests of several church officials who were reluctant to give the title to a woman. After much struggle, Piscopia received her PhD at the age of 32.
With inputs from Indo-Asian News Service
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Updated Date: Jun 05, 2019 09:40:16 IST