Cesarina Bordone, Italy's first woman engineer to specialise in the field of Acoustics

Cesarina Bordone, a pioneering figure in the field of acoustic engineering, charted a course of excellence by defying gender stereotypes and making a career for herself in a predominantly male professional environment.

Born in 1926 to a family open to culture, she nurtured an innate passion for knowledge from an early age, graduating from the Liceo Cavour high school in Turin and then enrolling in the Politecnico of the same city in 1945.

Her choice of Mechanical Engineering, the only member of her high school class to do so, highlights her determination to challenge the gender roles imposed by the society of the time. She graduated in 1950 with a degree in Industrial Engineering, with an Electrical Engineering specialisation, subsequently embracing a further specialisation in Acoustics thanks to a scholarship.

She joined the National Electrotechnical Institute in 1952, taking on the role of director, dedicating her career to surveys and measurements in the field of applied acoustics, a position she held for over two decades.

Her academic career began in the 1960s when she became a freelance lecturer at the Politecnico di Torino, obtaining a teaching post in Applied Electroacoustics.

Bordone was also active in the regulatory field of acoustics, representing Italy in international bodies and contributing to the standardisation work of the ISO, so much so that in 2006, the Institute of Acoustics awarded her the Silver Certificate in recognition of the work she performed over a period of 25 years.

Her many professional activities included research in phonetics and early voice recognition studies, the latter involving her in high-profile court cases. She was also called as consultant for architectural and theatrical acoustics projects, working both in Italy and abroad, contributing to the renovation of the Teatro Regio in Turin, among other projects.

Despite her extraordinary contributions, Bordone only worked at the Politecnico as a freelance lecturer, never gaining a permanent academic post. Nevertheless, she continues to be a beacon of excellence in the field of acoustics, proving that talent and determination can overcome any obstacle, even at a time when gender barriers were stronger and more restrictive.