Hans Rosling, Edutainer

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In this spectacular section of ‘The Joy of Stats’ Rosling tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes. Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.

The Guardian:

Swedish academic, whose gift for making data sing brought his innovative ideas to a worldwide audience, dies after year-long illness…

A professor of international health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, Rosling liked to call himself an “edutainer”. A talented presenter, whose signature animated data visualisations have featured in dozens of film clips, the statistician used humour and often unlikely objects such as children’s toys, cardboard boxes and teacups to liven up data on wealth, inequality and population.

Rosling’s work featured in a BBC4 documentary on The Joy of Stats, and he presented Don’t Panic – the Truth about Population on BBC2. He was also involved in founding the Swedish chapter of Medécins Sans Frontières, according to Swedish media reports. When the Ebola outbreak led to states of emergency being declared in Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014, Rosling went out to Monrovia to work with the Liberian government on their emergency response, tracking cases and pinpointing missing data.

Time magazine included him in its 2012 list of the world’s 100 most influential people, saying his “stunning renderings of the numbers … have moved millions of people worldwide to see themselves and our planet in new ways”.

But in an interview in the Guardian, in 2013, he was dismissive about his impact on knowledge. Asked what had surprised him the most about the reaction he had received, he said: “It’s that I became so famous with so little impact on knowledge. Fame is easy to acquire, impact is much more difficult. When we asked the Swedish population how many children are born per woman in Bangladesh, they still think it’s four to five. I have no impact on knowledge. I have only had impact on fame, and doing funny things, and so on.”

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