Countless women around the world owe their lives to the “pap test” for the timely detection of precancerous cells in the cervix. Hailing from Kymi, Papanikolaou moved to Athens where he enrolled in medical school at the age of 15. He received his degree at 21 and did his military duty. Between his two great loves, philosophy and biology, he chose the second one. “I am not a dreamer anymore. Science snatched me out of Nietzsche’s hands. I have my feet on solid ground now…” he wrote to his father from Germany where he was studying. For his extraordinary contribution to humanity the Academy of Athens acknowledged him as an honorary member in 1957.