FYI October 29, 2021

On This Day

1888 – The Convention of Constantinople is signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.
The Convention of Constantinople[3][4] is a treaty concerning the use of the Suez Canal in Egypt. It was signed on 29 October 1888 by the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. The Khedivate of Egypt, through whose territory the Canal ran, and to whom all shares in the Suez Canal Company were due to revert when the company’s 99 year lease to manage the Canal expired, was not invited to participate in the negotiations, and did not sign the treaty.

The signatories comprised all the great European powers of the era, and the treaty was interpreted as a guaranteed right of passage of all ships through the Suez Canal during war and peace. During the 74 years of the United Kingdom’s military presence in Egypt, from 1882 to 1956, the British government was in effective control of the Canal. In 1956, the Egyptian government nationalised the Suez Canal Company. Future wars between Egypt and the State of Israel would see the Canal blocked and unusable for extended periods of time.



Born On This Day

1711 – Laura Bassi, Italian physicist and academic, first woman to have doctorate in science (d. 1778)[12]
Laura Maria Caterina Bassi Veratti (29 October 1711 – 20 February 1778) was an Italian physicist and academic. Recognized and depicted as “Minerva” (goddess of wisdom), she was the first woman to have a doctorate in science, and the second woman in the world to earn the Doctor of Philosophy degree.[1][2] Working at the University of Bologna, she was also the first salaried female teacher in a university. At one time the highest paid employee of the university, by the end of her life Bassi held two other professorships.[3] She was also the first female member of any scientific establishment, when she was elected to the Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna in 1732 at 21.

Bassi had no formal education and was privately tutored from age five until she was twenty. By then she was well versed in major disciplines including sciences and mathematics. Noticing her ability, Prospero Lambertini, the Archbishop of Bologna (later Pope Benedict XIV), became her patron. With Lambertini’s arrangement she publicly defended forty-nine theses before professors of the University of Bologna on 17 April 1732, for which she was awarded a doctoral degree on 12 May. A month later, she was appointed by the university as its first female teacher, albeit with the restriction that she was not allowed to teach all-male classes. Lambertini, by then the Pope, helped her to receive permissions for private classes and experiments, which were granted by the university in 1740.

Bassi became the most important populariser of Newtonian mechanics in Italy.[1] She was inducted by the Pope to the Benedettini (similar to modern Pontifical Academy of Sciences) as an additional member in 1745. She took up the Chair of Experimental Physics in 1776, the position she held until her death. She is interred at the Church of Corpus Domini, Bologna.















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