Late astrophysicist Margherita Hack has become the first woman to have a public statue in Milan erected in her honour.
The statue of Margherita Hack was put up opposite Milan’s Statale University on what would have been her 100th birthday, on Monday.
Hack was a great disseminator of scientific knowledge who often appeared on Italian TV. She died in 2013, aged 91.
The work was promoted by the Deloitte Foundation in collaboration with the Casa degli Artisti and Milan city council. The sculpture, titled ‘Fixed Gaze’, is the work of the Bolognese artist Sissi. It is also the first of any woman erected on public soil in Milan.
“This is the first statue of a woman on public ground in Milan; and the first in Italy dedicated to a woman of science,” said Milan culture councillor Tommaso Sacchi. “The fact that Milan did not have any statues devoted to women who had a role in history, culture and science was something scandalous. This statue brings us into line with many Italian cities, but Milan must lead the modernity of the country”.
Who was Margherita Hack?
Hack was full professor of astronomy at the University of Trieste from 1964 to 1992. She was also the first Italian woman to administrate the Trieste Astronomical Observatory from 1964 to 1987.
In 1945, she received a degree in physics from the University of Florence with a final score of 101/110. In Italy, Hack was known for her anti-religious views and her continual criticism of the Catholic Church and of its hierarchy and institutions. She was also a vegetarian and wrote a book explaining this choice entitled Perché sono vegetariana (Why I Am A Vegetarian). hack also penned a book entitled La mia vita in bicicletta (My life on a bicycle).
Hack was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on 28 May 2012. Previously, she received the Gold Medal of the Italian Order of Merit for Culture and Art (27 May 1998).