Catholic Scientist of the Past

Maria Gaetana Agnesi

May 16, 1718 to January 9, 1799

Maria Gaetana Agnesi  (May 16, 1718 to January 9, 1799)  Agnesi was an Italian mathematician who became the first woman to be appointed professor of mathematics at a university.  Agnesi was renowned as a child prodigy, speaking seven languages by the age of twelve.  At the age of fourteen she started studying physics and mathematics, as well as theology and philosophy. In 1748, she wrote a textbook on calculus, which was translated into English and French.  Pope Benedict XIV appointed her a professor of mathematics at the University of Bologna in 1750, making her the second woman in history to attain the rank of professor at a university (after Laura Bassi, another protégée of Pope Benedict XIV). Soon after, however, Agnesi decided to act upon her longtime desire to do charitable work. She founded the Hospice Trevulzio to serve Milan’s poor and elderly, devoting her later years to working with the nuns there.

Copyright Information on Picture of Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Explore Other Scientists

It is our hope that this curated set of biographies will be useful to teachers, students, and the general public.

Connect With Catholic Scientists

The Society of Catholic Scientists is an international organization that fosters fellowship among Catholic scientists and witnesses to the harmony of faith and reason.

Support Our Mission

Join the hundreds of people whose financial contributions are allowing Catholic scientists to engage with each other and the world as never before.

Another Callout Item

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum ullamcorper sed ligula in sodales. Sed sollicitudin dignissim turpis quis semper. Phasellus non est et nisl sodales dapibus vel quis ante.