" Well, I really don't advise a woman who wants to have things her own way to get married. "
Virginia Woolf

Back in the day


Doctorate in Philosophy Awarded to a Woman for the First Time

Born to a noble Venetian family, Elena Cornaro Piscopia became the first woman to be awarded a doctorate in philosophy. A child prodigy, Piscopia went on to complete a brilliant course of study at the University of Padua. During her graduation ceremony, she spoke in classical Latin for an hour, explaining passages from Aristotle. She spent the next several years devoted to study and charity before dying of tuberculosis at age 38. How many languages did she master before receiving her doctorate?



The Electric Violin

The traditional violin, predominantly played in orchestras and chamber music, was developed in Italy in the early 16th century. The electric violin arrived 400 years later, first appearing in the jazz music of the 1920s in the US. Many electric violins have a solid body designed to minimize feedback and are made with built-in pickups for amplification, while others are acoustic instruments that have been converted with electric components. Who are some of the musicians who use electric violins?

Born on a day like today


Pierre Culliford, AKA Peyo

Born Pierre Culliford, Belgian comics artist Peyo is known for creating Les Schtroumpfs, better known to English speakers as The Smurfs. The little, blue characters debuted in a supporting role in Peyo's series Johan and Peewit and then began appearing on their own in 1959. Smurf merchandise, particularly figurines, along with animated films and television shows, helped their popularity soar, and the Smurfs became an international phenomenon. How did Peyo get his pseudonym?

Last updated on Wednesday, 26th June 2013

More sponsors