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Profile on: Roy Lichtenstein, pop artist

This is the fifth in a series of posts about interesting, inspiring and influential people. Today’s profile is on artist Roy Lichtenstein, whose work you’ll most certainly be familiar with.

Roy Lichtenstein
Image from Wikipedia

Who: Roy Lichtenstein, American pop artist
Born: 27th October, 1923
Died: 29th September, 1997 (aged 73)
Claim to fame: Old-fashioned comic strip style pop art

Snapshot of Notable Facts & Achievements:

  • Lichtenstein became interested in art and design as a hobby.
  • In 1939 (his last year of high school), Lichtenstein enrolled in summer classes at the Art Students League of New York then continued from 1940 – 1943 at Ohio State University in Columbus.
  • Lichtenstein did military service in World War II in Europe and returned to Columbus in 1946.
  • Completed his Master of Fine Arts in 1949.
  • Was influenced by Cézanne, Picasso, Mondrian and Vincent van Gogh.
  • His early works are categorised under the post World War II art movement Abstract Expressionism.
  • Lichtenstein taught from 1946 – 1951 at Ohio State University, followed by the Sate University of New York at Oswego from 1957 and Douglass College, Rutgers University, New Jersey from 1960 – 1963.
  • At Douglass College he met other artists that encouraged his interest in cartoon imagery, and in 1961 Lichtenstein adopted the comic strip style that he is now synonymous with.

© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein / Courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago

  • Lichtenstein’s Pop paintings mimic commercial printing techniques and imitations of Ben Day dots used in newspaper printing.
  • He applied these techniques to paintings based on small advertisements from 1962 to approximately 1964.
  • In the mid to late 60s Lichtenstein began producing screen prints. His reputation grew.
  • In the next years he added sculpture to his repertoire, including the use of motifs that referenced Art Deco architecture.
  • Earlier this year, the comic painting Sleeping Girl (1964) from the collection of Beatrice and Phillip Gersh established a new Lichtenstein record $44.8 million at Sotheby’s.

There is an exhibition about Roy Lichtenstein at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs, Northern Territory until the 10th of June 2013.

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Profile on: George Papanikolaou, creator of the cervical Pap smear test

This is the third in a series of posts about interesting, inspiring and influential people. Today’s profile is on George Papanikolaou, a man responsible for saving millions of lives through his method for early cervical cancer detection.


Image from http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/campionhs/europeanProject/papanikolaou.htm 

Who: George Papanikolaou, Greek cell biologist and early cancer detection researcher
Born: 13th May, 1883
Died: 19th February, 1962 (Aged 78)
Claim to fame:Invented the Pap smear test


Snapshot of Notable Facts & Achievements:

  • Graduated with Honours from the University of Athens. Papanikolaou received his medical degree in 1904 and then six years later he received his Ph.D. from the University of Munich.
  • In 1913 he emigrated to the United States and found a position at the Weill Medical School’s Department of Anatomy at New York’s Cornell University.
  • In his early research, Papanikolaou discovered that abnormal cells could be observed under a microscope. He later wrote, “The first observation of cancer cells in the smear of the uterine cervix gave me one of the greatest thrills I ever experienced during my scientific career.”
  • He reported that cervical and uterine cancer could be diagnosed by means of a vaginal smear in 1928, but this claim was not recognised until a research paper he published in 1943 with a colleague, Herbert Traut.
  • In 1950 Papanikolaou was awarded a Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. He won many other prestigious medical awards for his contribution.
  • In 1961 he moved to Florida to develop the Papanikolaou Cancer Research Institute at the University of Miami, but he passed away from heart failure not long after, in 1962.
  • In 1978 his work was recognised by the US Postal Service with a 13-cent stamp for Early Cancer Detection.

Stamp image from http://arago.si.edu

  • Papanikolaou’s portrait appeared on the Greek 10,000 drachma note from 1995 – 2001 (before being replaced by the Euro.

Banknote image from http://www.coinsworld.eu/shops/gant/item1580/

For more information on cervical cancer screening, see the following links:

Cervical cancer screening in Australia
Cervical cancer screening in New Zealand
Cervical cancer screening in the UK
Cervical cancer screening in the USA

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Profile on: Jane Goodall, anthropologist & UN Messenger of Peace

This is the second in a series of posts about interesting, inspiring and influential people. 


Jane Goodall with Freud. Pre-approved image by Michael Neugebauer

Who: Jane Goodall, British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace 
Born: 3rd April, 1934  
Claim to fame: Goodall is considered to be the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees

Snapshot of Notable Facts and Achievements: 

  • After a series of chance encounters, Goodall arrived at the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in western Tanzania in 1960 to take on a project: studying chimpanzees.
  • Goodall defied scientific convention by giving the chimps she was researching names instead of numbers.
  • Soon after commencing her research Goodall saw chimps strip the leaves off twigs in order to make tools for fishing out termites from a nest. This was an important discovery and proved that humans aren’t the only tool-making species. 
  • Other of Goodall’s significant discoveries about chimpanzees included that they were not vegetarians, they engaged in war, they taught each other skills and they displayed compassion.
  • In 1962 Goodall entered Cambridge University as a Ph.D candidate. She was one of few people to be admitted without a college degree and earned her Ph.D. in ethology (animal behaviour) in 1965. 
  • In 1965 Goodall established the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Gombe and in 1977 she established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), which continues the Gombe research an is a leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees. 
  • Goodall paved the path for other women primatologists. Gilbert Grosvenor, the chairman of the National Geographic Society wrote that “women now dominate long-term primate behavioural studies worldwide.”
  • In 2002 Goodall was appointed to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
  • In 2004 she was made a Dame of the British Empire during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. 
  • Jane Goodall has written numerous articles, books and children’s stories and has appeared in many documentaries.
  • Today Jane continues working by speaking to all types of audiences as well as high-level conferences about the threats facing chimpanzees.

Photos of a young Jane Goodall:

There are some beautiful photos here of a young Jane Goodall, including one of her with her first chimpanzee soft toy. 

Words by Jane Goodall:

  • “I wanted to talk to the animals like Dr. Doolittle.”
  • “The most important thing I can say to you – yes, you who are now reading this – is that you, as an individual, have a role to play and can make a difference. You get to choose: do you want to use your life to try to make the world a better place for humans and animals and the environment? Or not?”
  • “We have so far to go to realize our human potential for compassion, altruism, and love.”
  • “Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is all right, as long as your values don’t change.” 
  • “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
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Profile on: Michel de Montaigne, writer and the father of Modern Skepticism

Here’s the first post of my new blog post project: short, snappy profiles on interesting, inspiring and influential people from the past and present.


Who: Michel de Montaigne, French writer & philosopher who lived during the French Renaissance
Born: 28th February, 1533
Died: 13 September, 1592 (Aged 59)
Claim to fame: Montaigne founded the essay and was amongst the first to write philosophically with modern skepticism

Snapshot of Notable Facts & Achievements:

  • He is regarded as the founder of the essay. Michel de Montaigne described his works as ‘essays’ – ‘essayer’ is French for ‘to try’ or ‘to attempt’.
  • In his essays he expressed opinions on his nature and the habits of people, and he questioned the wisdom of humans.
  • He is most well known for the remark, “Que sais-je?” (“What do I know?”)
  • There is a biography of Michel de Montaigne written by Sarah Bakewell called How To Live. The question, “How to live?” obsessed Montaigne. In the book, Bakewell addresses Montaigne’s essays with 20 chapters including, “Don’t Worry About Death”, “Read A Lot, Forget Most of What You Read”, “Survive Love and Loss”, “Question Everything”, “Do Something No One Has Done Before” and “Reflect on Everything; Regret Nothing”.
  • For some time, he moderated between Catholics and Protestants.
  • In his essay Of Cannibals Montaigne wrote that “one calls ‘barbarism’ whatever he is not accustomed to,” questioning the differences between barbaric and moral man.
  • His skepticism got him into the Index of Forbidden Books for almost 200 years. The Index of Forbidden Books was a list of publications prohibited by the Catholic Church. It was abolished in 1966.
  • His birthplace is now called Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne.

Some of Montaigne’s quotes:

  • “Don’t discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved.”
  • “Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom.”
  • “When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind.”
  • “A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.”
  • “An untempted woman cannot boast of her chastity.”
  • “I speak the truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more as I grow older.”
  • “I know that the arms of friendship are long enough to reach from the one end of the world to the other”
  • “There is no knowledge so hard to acquire as the knowledge of how to live this life well and naturally.”
  • “Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.”

Image from Wikipedia

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