Who was Georgios Papanikolaou?
Papanikolaou was born in Evia, a Greek island, on May 13, 1883. He initially intended to pursue a career in music or some humanities, but eventually decided to become a doctor under his father’s influence. The Pap smear was developed in the United States, after immigrating to the country with his wife, Andromachi Mavroyenis, in 1913.
The couple struggled in the new nation, but Papanikolaou was nominated for a research position at Cornell University in New York State. It was at this institution that, together with his wife, the doctor developed the Pap smear. The method is able to detect STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) or signs of cervical cancer in a cheap and accessible way. Georgios Papanikolaou is considered the father of cytology (science that studies cells) for his work in the diagnosis of benign and malignant tumors.