ROME (JTA) — Pope Benedict XVI held a private audience at the Vatican with a Jewish Nobel Prize-winning scientist who last month turned 100 years old.
The Vatican press office said the pontiff’s meeting with Rita Levi Montalcini took place Monday but did not provide further details.
Levi Montalcini is the oldest living Nobel Prize winner. She and colleague Stanley Cohen received the prize in medicine in 1986 for their discovery of nerve growth factor.
Born in Turin, Levi Montalcini suffered persecution under fascist Italy’s anti-Semitic laws. She lived in the United States for decades after World War II before returning to Italy. In 2001, she was named an Italian Senator for Life, one of Italy’s highest civilian awards. She is also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and directs a foundation that helps African women.