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Faculty and notable students of University of Bologna

Personaggi celebri, ospiti e allievi illustri di Università di Bologna

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  • Augusto Murri (1841 - 1932)
    Augusto Murri (8 September 1841, Fermo, Marche - 11 November 1932) was an Italian physician. Appointed to the Chair of Clinical Medicine at Bologna in 1875 he was regarded as one of the most illustriou...
  • Giacomo Luigi Ciamician (1857 - 1922)
    Giacomo Luigi Ciamician (Armenian: Հակոբ (Ջակոմո) Լուիջի Չամիչյան; 27 August 1857 – 2 January 1922) was an Italian photochemist and senator of Armenian descent. Life and work Ciamician was born in Trie...
  • Federigo (Ghigo) Enriques (1871 - 1946)
    foto da , , , , ,
  • Augusto Righi (1850 - 1920)
    Righi (27 August 1850 – 8 June 1920) was an Italian physicist and a pioneer in the study of electromagnetism. He was born and died in Bologna.
  • Giovanni Pascoli (1855 - 1912)

This project aims to identify founders, notable teachers and students of Bologna University from 1088 to present day.

If in your family tree you have an individual who was a notable professor, administrator or student of a high professional achievement (later in life), whose education was associated with University of Bologna, please add them to this project. It would be great if within profile description there would be brief biography.

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Note: Only public profiles may be added to projects.

The origins of the University of Bologna go way back, and it is considered to be the oldest university in the Western world. Its history is intertwined with that of the great names of science and literature, it is a keystone and a point of reference for European culture.

The numbers of history

1088: the Bologna "Studium" was founded by students and for students. It is the oldest university in the Western world.

1888: the celebrations of the Eighth Centennial relaunched the role of the University of Bologna within Europe, thanks to the work of Giosuè Carducci, who in 1906 won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1988: on 18 September in Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, the rectors of 430 universities from all the continents signed the Magna Charta Universitatum Europaeum during the nine hundredth anniversary of the University of Bologna, formally recognised as the Alma Mater of all universities. Subsequently signed by another 400 rectors, the Magna Charta affirms the autonomy of universities, the solid ties between teaching and research, rejecting any limits posed by "all geographical and political boundaries".

1989: previously limited to the province of Bologna, the Alma Mater initiated a programme of decentralisation throughout Romagna, becoming the most extensive of all Italian universities. In 2000 the University recognised special forms of autonomy for the Romagna campuses, establishing the scientific and teaching campuses of Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini. In 1998 the University also inaugurated a campus in Buenos Aires.

1993: the first reform of the University Statute, inspired by the principle of autonomy of the university.

1999: on 19 June in the Aula Magna of the University of Bologna, 29 European Ministers of Higher Education signed the Bologna Declaration, establishing a European Higher Education Area. This was the start of a reform process known as the Bologna Process, committing the signatory countries to a project to restructure the university systems with a view to convergence, ending in 2010.

2012: the entry into force of the new Statute (11 January) concluded the process of university reform which began in 2010, and the implementation of the new university organization begins.

Famous people, guests and illustrious students

The first recorded scholars were Pepone and Irnerio, the latter of whom was defined as "lucerna iuris". With the advice of four "doctores" thought to be their pupils, in 1158 Frederick I promulgated the Constitutio Habita, in which the University was legally declared a place where research could develop independently from any other power.

The fame of the Studium spread throughout Europe and many English scholars also came to study in Bologna. Perhaps the most famous of these was Thomas Becket. But in the following centuries Bologna was visited by other illustrious scholars and students: Pico della Mirandola and Leon Battista Alberti, who studied canonical law, and in 1506 Erasmus of Rotterdam, a student of almost forty, came to study here for a year.

In the same period, Nicolaus Copernicus, a member of the Germanic nation, was completing his three years of study in Bologna. While studying pontifical law, he began his astronomical observations and, in his work "De revolutionibus orbium coelestium" remembers one particular observation in Bologna on the night of 9 March 1497. And again, Paracelso, Abrecht Dürer, San Carlo Borromeo, Torquato Tasso, Carlo Goldoni.

Legend has it that a woman taught in Bologna between the 12th and 13th centuries, Bettisia Gozzadini. It is said that, attracting huge crowds, her lessons were held not in the classroom but in the public squares.

In the 15th century Greek and Hebrew studies were instituted, and in the 16th century those of "natural magic", experimental science. The philosopher Pietro Pomponazzi upheld the study of the laws of nature against the traditionalist position of Theology and Philosophy. A representative figure of this period was Ulisse Aldrovandi, whose contribution ranged from pharmacopoeia to the study of animals, fossils, and marvels of nature which he collected and classified.

The 17th century is an important period for Bologna medicine and it coincides with the teaching of Marcello Malpighi who was called to Bologna as a lecturer in the theory of extraordinary medicine, passing to ordinary medicine in 1660.

The University of Bologna admitted women teachers right from the 12th century. The opening to female scholars became clear in the 18th century. The new ideas of Enlightenment were changing old prejudices, and the whole of Europe was debating the issue of women's culture. Among the most famous women teachers we may remember Laura Bassi: in 1732 she was given the chair in philosophy, and in 1776 the chair in experimental physics, teaching Logic, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Chemistry, Hydraulics, Mathematics, Mechanics, Algebra, Geometry, Ancient and Modern Languages.

In the 18th century, the University fostered scientific and technological development. In this period came the studies of Luigi Galvani who, along with Alessandro Volta, Benjamin Franklin and Henry Cavendish, was one of the founders of modern electrotechnical studies.

Following the establishment of the United Italian State came a period of great prosperity for the University of Bologna, in which the figures of Giovanni Capellini, Giosuè Carducci, Giovanni Pascoli, Augusto Righi, Federigo Enriques, Giacomo Ciamician, Augusto Murri.

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