biography center image
Home Suggest a Biography Forum Contact
Browse by Alphabet Most Popular Highest Rated   back to  search
Browse by Letter : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
George Nicholas Papanicolaou ( 1883 - 1961 )  Category ( Scientists ) [suggest a correction]

George Nicholas Papanicolaou, the famous physician and medical scientist, was born on the island of Euboea in the town of Kimi, Greece. He was born on May 13, 1883 to Nicolas Papanicolaou, a physician, and Maria, a well-cultured lady. Growing up on the island with one brother and two sisters, he enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle, particularly boating and hiking in the mountains. At age eleven, he began attending school in Athens. In 1898, he began taking courses in humanities and music at the University of Athens.

Seeking to please his father, Papanicolaou received a medical degree from the University of Athens in 1904. For two years after that, he served in the Greek military as an assistant surgeon.

After serving in the army, Papanicolaou worked for one year taking care of patients at a leper colony just north of Kimi. He was more interested in medical science and in 1907 left for Jena, Germany to do postgraduate work at the Zoological Institute at the University of Munich. The institute was considered at the time to be the best center for zoological research in the world. While there, Papanicolaou worked with Professor Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel, an early proponent of Darwinism. By 1910, he had earned his Ph.D. in zoology.

For one year from 1910 to 1911, Papanicolaou, worked as a physiologist at the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco. He returned to Greece when his mother passed away in 1911. While back in Greece, he met and married Andromache Mavroyeni, the daughter of a military officer.

From 1912 to 1923, Papanicolaou served in the military for the Balkan war against the Turks. He was a second lieutenant in the medical corps. After the war, he and his wife moved to the United States. They arrived on October 19, 1913 with almost no money and speaking no English. Papanicolaou worked as a rug salesman, musician, and clerk before finding a position in the pathology department of New York Hospital. He then became an assistant at Cornell Medical College.

In 1927, Papanicolaou received his U.S. citizenship. While working at Cornell, he focused on the study of reproduction and cytology. His most important development was the Pap smear, a technique for diagnosing cervical and uterine cancer. He developed this simple, low-cost test, by working on guinea pigs. By simply looking at vaginal and cervical cells under a microscope, he could distinguish between normal and cancerous cells.

When the Pap smear came into common practice, the incidence of cervical cancer in American women dropped drastically. In 1961, Papanicolaou left Cornell to direct the Miami Cancer Institute (now named in his honor). He died only three months later of heart disease.

starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  4
Rating [Comment on this link]
Title :George Nicholas Papanicolaou (
Description : George Nicholas Papanicolaou: Greek-American cytologist and pathologist, born May 13, 1883, Kimi, on the island of Euboea, Greece; died February 19, 1962, Miami, Florida. Associated with: Papanicolaou's smear,Papanicolaou's stain,Papanicolaou's test
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  0
Rating [Comment on this link]
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  0
Rating [Comment on this link]
[Suggest another Link for this biography]
Browse by categories
Biographies beginning with
Biographes by Category
Most popular biographies
Most rated biographies
View all categories
Browse by categories
arrow Suggest an addtional category for Papanicolaou George Nicholas
arrow Suggest a Biography
arrow Add details to this biogaphy
© Copyright 1998-2023 Biography Center