Georgios N. Papanikolaou (or George Papanicolaou; Greek: Γεώργιος Παπανικολάου) (May 13, 1883–February 19, 1962) was born at Kimi on the island of Evia, in Greece. He was a pioneer in cytology and early cancer detection.
He studied at the University of Athens where he received his medical degree in 1904. Six years later he received his Ph.D. from the University of Munich, Germany. In 1913 he emigrated to the U.S. in order to work in the department of Pathology of New York Hospital and the Department of Anatomy at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He first reported that uterine cancer could be diagnosed by means of a vaginal smear in 1928, but the importance of his work was not recognized until the publication, together with Herbert Traut, of \'Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear\' in 1943. The book discusses the preparation of the vaginal and cervical smear, physiologic cytologic changes during the menstrual cycle, effect of various pathological conditions, and the changes seen in the presence of cancer of the cervix and the endometrium of the uterus. He thus became known for his invention of Papanicolaou\'s test, now known as the Pap smear, which is used worldwide for the detection and prevention of cervical cancer and other cytologic diseases of the female reproductive system.
In 1961 he moved to Miami to develop the Papanicolaou Cancer Research Institute at the University of Miami, but died in 1962 prior to its opening.
Dr. Papanicolaou was a recipient of the Lasker Award.
He was featured on the 10000 drachma note.