In Hans Rosling’s hands, data sings. Global trends in health and economics come to vivid life. And the big picture of global development—with some surprisingly good news—snaps into sharp focus.
Hans Rosling has the unique ability to make statistical data come alive in order to address the global economy and, in particular, dispel common myths about the so-called developing world, which he believes is no longer worlds away from the West.
The founder of the Gapminder Foundation – an organization that strives to make statistical data freely available and easily understandable online – and a professor of international health at Karolinska Institutet, Hans Rosling began his wide-ranging career as a physician, spending many years in rural Africa tracking a rare paralytic disease (which he named konzo) and discovering its cause: hunger and badly processed cassava. He co-founded Doctors Without Borders Sweden, wrote a textbook on global health, and has advised the WHO and UNICEF.
What sets Rosling apart as a speaker isn’t just his apt observations of broad social and economic trends, but the stunning way he presents them. You’ve never seen data presented like this. By any logic, a presentation that tracks a wide range of global trends should be, in a word, boring. But in Rosling’s hands, data sings. Trends come to life. And the big picture – usually hazy at best – snaps into sharp focus.
Rosling’s presentations are grounded in solid statistics (often drawn from United Nations data), illustrated by the visualization software he developed. The animations transform development statistics into moving bubbles and flowing curves that make global trends clear, intuitive, and even playful. During his legendary presentations, Hans Rosling takes this one step farther, narrating the animations with a sportscaster’s flair.
Hans Rosling is a member of the International Group of the Swedish Academy of Science and of the Global Agenda Network of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. His 20 years of research on global health concerned the character of the links between economy and health in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He’s also personally argued with many heads of state, including Fidel Castro.