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Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Maria Gaetana Agnesi.jpg
Born (1718-05-16)16 May 1718
Milan, Duchy of Milan
Died 9 January 1799(1799-01-09) (aged 80)
Milan, Cisalpine Republic
Nationality Italian
Known for Author of Instituzioni Analitiche ad uso della gioventù italiana (English: Analytical Institutions for the use of Italian youth)
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of Bologna

Maria Gaetana Agnesi ( an-YAY-zee AHN-- 16 May 1718 – 9 January 1799) was an Italian mathematician, philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian. She was the first woman to write a mathematics handbook and the first woman appointed as a mathematics professor at a university.

She is credited with writing the first book discussing both differential and integral calculus and was a member of the faculty at the University of Bologna, although she never served.

She devoted the last four decades of her life to studying theology (especially patristics) and to charitable work and serving the poor. She was a devout Catholic and wrote extensively on the marriage between intellectual pursuit and mystical contemplation, most notably in her essay Il cielo mistico (The Mystic Heaven). She saw the rational contemplation of God as a complement to prayer and contemplation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Maria Teresa Agnesi Pinottini, clavicembalist and composer, was her sister.

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