Georgios Papanikolaou Today’s Google Doodle, Inventor of the Pap smear cervical cancer test, Cancer Detection Pioneer Celebrated in Doodle. Google Doodle’s tribute was done on May 13, 2019, which would have marked Georgios Papanikolaou’s 136th birthday.
In his honour, Google is changing its logo in 12 countries to a doodle, or illustration, of him and a microscope. Although he majored in music and the humanities at the University of Athens, his physician father encouraged him to take up medicine – and he ended up graduating from medical school with top honours.
Aged just 15, Georgios applied for a medical course at the University of Athens before finishing his undergraduate degree in 1904, and later completing a PhD in biology and zoology in Munich. He also spent some time serving in the Greek military as an assistant surgeon.
Papanikolaou was born on the Greek island of Euboea in 1883. He started medical school at 15 and served as an army surgeon in the Balkan wars before immigrating to the United Sates with his wife Andromachi Mavroyenis in 1913.
Although Papanikolaou first discovered the ability to diagnose uterine cancer through a vaginal smear in 1928, it was only in 1943, after having published the book “Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear” that his work received recognition.