agnesi, maria gaetana - Agnesi, maria gaetana (1718-99); agnesi, maria gaetana - Italian mathematician and linguist. She was born at Milan, daughter of a professor of mathematics at Bologna. At the age of nine she composed a thesis in Latin, and when thirteen knew Greek, Hebrew, and several modern languages. She displayed equal precocity in mathematics, being the author of two volumes on the analysis of finite quantities and the analysis of infinitesimals, not published, however, until she was thirty, and not translated into English until 1801. By the authority of Pope Benedict XIV she took her father's place as professor of mathematics at Bologna on his illness in 1750. After his death in 1752 she entered a sisterhood at Milan, where she became a nun, and died Jan. 9, 1799.