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Medal commemorating Laura Maria Caterina Bassi, Italy, 1732

Laura Bassi (1711-88) was the first woman to be offered an official teaching position at any university in Europe. She held the chair in experimental physics from 1776 to 1778. She was also the second woman ever to receive a university degree, in 1732. The other side of the medal shows Bassi as the Roman goddess Minerva, who was the goddess of wisdom, the arts and professionals.

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Glossary: medal

Small pieces of metal, usually gold, silver, or bronze, bearing a relief design on one or both sides and having a commemorative purpose; not used as a medium of exchange. Medals may also be created to commemorate individuals or events or even as works of artistic expression in their own right.

Glossary: commemorative

Use for items produced, issued, or worn to commemorate a person, event, or occasion. For structures erected to preserve the memory of persons or events, use "memorials."