Angelica Frisa, first woman in Italy to graduate with a degree in Mining Engineering

Born in 1934, Angelica Frisa pursued an academic and professional career that challenged the gender barriers of her time.

She entered the academic world in 1958 as assistant to the Chair of Mining Art at the Politecnico di Torino.

Subsequently, among other responsibilities, she held the position of voluntary assistant to the Chair of Mineral Preparation until 1980, when she became an associate professor to the Chair of Mineral Processes.

Her passion for mineralogy resulted in numerous scientific publications and in her role as Chairwoman of the European Standards Committee for Ornamental Stones.

Thanks to her commitment, she contributed significantly to the drafting of Italian and European standards in the field of ornamental stones, consolidating her authority in Italy and abroad.

One of her most significant achievements is related to petrographic studies on marble, which led to the discovery of the quarry from which the black marble used by Guarino Guarini in the Chapel of the Shroud was extracted. She used her expertise to coordinate the investigations and helped accelerate the restoration of the Chapel using some of the original materials, confirming her important role in architectural restoration.

However, despite her considerable scientific contributions and commitment to the field of mineralogy, Frisa found it hard to achieve a stable and recognised academic position. It was only with the reform of academic appointments in 1980 that she obtained a more established position as an associate professor. This event could be indicative of a persistent vertical segregation that prevents women from entering top academic roles, demonstrating the challenges and gender inequalities still present in the academic environment.

Angelica Frisa was a pioneer in her field, paving the way for women interested in mineralogy and mining engineering, proving that talent and determination can overcome obstacles, even those generated by gender barriers still present in academia.