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Sweden’s first female engineer honored with statue

Vera Sandberg was the first woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in engineering in Sweden, in 1917, and therefore Chalmers University of Technology has inaugurated a statue of her.

Vera Sandberg studied Chemistry at Chalmers, and the statue called “Vera’s laboration” is four metres high, 400 kilo heavy and has lighting and 15 welded mobile parts. The bronze statue is located at the Vera Sandberg avenue, close to Kapellplatsen in Gothenburg.

“I wanted to portrait Vera in her working environment and I think she represent an encounter between the past and the present,” says Jan Cardell, the artist.

The production of the Vera Sandberg statue. The statue consists of a number of mobile parts as well as lighting in order to fashion the liquids in the containers. Designed by Jan Cardell.

“She would have run away”

Relatives to Vera were present during the inauguration and her 99 year old sister daugther, Ann-Marie Lund, described Vera as a modest person who probably would have been surprised if she would have seen the attention around her. “If she would have been here, she would have run away,” she said. “She never wanted to be the centre of attention. But boy, was she well organized and she raised her boys very well.”

She took the lead

During the inauguration the Vice-Chancellor of Chalmers, Stefan Bengtsson, said that in the beginning of the 20th century it was not obvious that engineering educations was available for women. He described Vera as a role model for the young and he emphasized that there are several reasons why Chalmers highlights her.

“She took the lead, dared to follow her interest and broke what was regarded as normal at that time. I think the statue connects the past with the present and streches into the future. I hope it will be an inspiration for the young to choose their own paths  –  gladly natural science and technology!”

Vera Helfrid Victoria Sandberg (1895 – 1979). When she started at Chalmers she was the only women among 500 male students. She received her degree in 1917 and started working at AB Skandinaviska Raffineriet in Partille. Photo: Chalmers

 

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