Dr. Hans Rosling

The man who made statistics enjoyable

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling in a TED presentation

Dismal Science No More

When I studied economics in the eighties, the so-called dismal science fully desserved its reputation of an arid, abstract and --I must admit, somewhat disconnected endeavour from real world problems. How this view would have changed if we had known a Dr. Rosling by then.

After a very long lapse (I ended up in a career unrelated to my specialisation after graduating), it is Dr. Rosling's presentations which reignitated my interest in the questions I tried to solve when I choosed to study economics.

What I realised also, through Rosling public presentations, or maybe we should call them Rosling's shows, is the deep gap between public opinions and what is known actually about the world economic and welfare affairs. Hence where the name of the organisation he has founded: Gapminder.

Born in Sweden, Rosling graduated at Uppsala University and St-John's Medical College, Bangalore, and specialised in in statistics and public health. He became a licenced phisician in 1977. He practiced medecine between 1979 and 1981 in Mozambique, where his investigations on an epidemic outbreak of a paralytic disease and its cause (an insufficiently processed local manioc) earned him a Ph.D. degree from Uppsala University.

Since then, Dr. Rosling conducted many other studies on the subjects of economic development, agriculture, poverty and health. He is one of the initiators of Médecins Sans Frontières in Sweden.

Notwithsanding his impressive career as a professor, researcher and consultant for international organisations (WHO, UNICEF and many more agencies), I think one of the most valuable contributions of Dr. Rosling is in educating the layman through lively public presentations, helping to dispel longly held myths propagated by lazy journalism and oversimplifications. Rosling has rendered data about the state of the world accessible to even the most math-shy person.

I have a suggestion for a new name for the developing world. Let's call it the world.

Hans Rosling

Here are a some links to a few of Dr. Rosling presentations:

Here is his Wikipedia entry and his organisation: the Gapminder Foundation.


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