Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu

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Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu
Born (1887-11-10)10 November 1887
Galați, Romania
Died November 25, 1973(1973-11-25) (aged 86)
Nationality Romanian
Engineering career
Discipline Engineering

Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu (November 10, 1887 - November 25, 1973) was the world's first female engineer.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Zamfirescu was born in Galați, Romania on November 10, 1887. Her father, Atanase Leonida, was a career officer while her mother, Matilda Gill, was the daughter of a French-born engineer.[2] Her brother was the engineer Dimitrie Leonida.

Due to prejudices against women in the sciences, Zamfirescu was rejected by the School of Bridges and Roads in Bucharest.[3] In 1909 she was accepted at the Royal Academy of Technology Berlin, Charlottenburg. She graduated in 1912, with a degree in engineering.[2] It has been claimed that Zamfirescu was the world's first female engineer,[3] but the Irish engineer Alice Perry graduated four years before Zamfirescu in 1908.[4]


Returning to Romania, Zamfirescu worked as an assistant at the Geological Institute of Romania.[3] During World War I, she joined the Red Cross. Around this time, she met and married chemist Constantin Zamfirescu, brother of writer Duiliu Zamfirescu.[1]

After the war, Zamfirescu returned to the Geological Institute. She led several geology laboratories and participated in various field studies, including some that identified new resources of coal, shale, natural gas, chromium, bauxite and copper. Zamfirescu also taught physics and chemistry.[1]

Later life and death[edit]

Zamfirescu retired in 1963, aged 75. She died at the age of 86 on November 25, 1973.

Honors and awards[edit]

Zamfirescu was the first woman member of A.G.I.R. (General Association of Romanian Engineers).

A street in Sector 1 of Bucharest bears her name.


  1. ^ a b c "The first woman-engineer in Europe". True Romania. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Marcu, George. "ROMÂNCE CARE NE FAC CINSTE: ELIZA LEONIDA-ZAMFIRESCU". Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Cociuban, Anca. "Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu – First female engineer in the world". Amazing Romanians. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Irish Architectural Archive. "PERRY, ALICE JACQUELINE". Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1940. Irish Architectural Archive. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 

Additional Sources[edit]