Pioneering scientist, Georgios Papanikolaou would have been 136 years old Monday. The researcher is honoured with the May 13 Google Doodle, which celebrates his birthday — and his most important invention: the Pap smear.
His methodology opened up an entirely new field of medical study known as “cytopathology” which examines cells of the body to look for disease.
Papanikolaou was only 15 when he started medical school. In 1910 he received his PhD from the University of Munich and three years later immigrated to the US with his wife, Andromahi Mavrogeni. The duo found employment at Cornell University as researchers in the department of anatomy and began carrying out work studying cancers of the female reproductive system.
In 1928, he found that taking vaginal smears and examining them under the microscope enabled the detection of cancers. However, it took until 1943 for that work to be published.