Ignác Fülöp Semmelweis, the namesake of Semmelweis University, is one of the best-known Hungarian doctors in the world. With the chlorinated water handwashing he introduced, deaths caused by puerperal fever were dramatically reduced – hence his nickname ‘the saviour of mothers’. But he was not only recognized for his insistence on his ground-breaking hygiene insights despite the opposition of his peers. He was one of the pioneers of experimental pathology, performing the first ovarian surgery in our country and the second caesarean section. In the United States, Ignác Semmelweis has a statue at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, where he is one of 12 memorials to eminent physicians. His teachings on the importance of handwashing were brought to the fore again during the coronavirus epidemic – no wonder the Google search engine homepage paid tribute to him and his legacy with a Doodle video for a day in March 2020.