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Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling
Rosling at the 2012 Time 100 gala
Born (1948-07-27) 27 July 1948
Uppsala, Sweden
Institutions Karolinska Institute
Alma mater Uppsala University
St. John's Medical College
Thesis Cassava, Cyanide, and Epidemic Spastic Paraparesis: A Study in Mozambique on Dietary Cyanide Exposure (1986)
Known for Gapminder Foundation

Hans Rosling (born 27 July 1948)[1] is a Swedish medical doctor, academic, statistician and public speaker. He is Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute[2] and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software system.


  • Biography 1
  • Gapminder 2
  • Personal health 3
  • Awards 4
  • Selected publications 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Rosling was born in Uppsala, Sweden. From 1967 to 1974 Rosling studied statistics and medicine at Uppsala University, and in 1972 he studied public health at St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, India. He became a licensed physician in 1976 and from 1979 to 1981 he served as District Medical Officer in Nacala in northern Mozambique.

On 21 August 1981, Rosling discovered an outbreak of konzo, a paralytic disease,[3][4] and the investigations that followed earned him a Ph.D. degree at Uppsala University in 1986. He spent two decades studying outbreaks of this disease in remote rural areas across Africa and supervised more than ten Ph.D. students. Outbreaks occur among hunger-stricken rural populations in Africa where a diet dominated by insufficiently processed cassava results in simultaneous malnutrition and high dietary cyanide intake.[4]

Rosling's research has also focused on other links between economic development, agriculture, poverty and health.[5] He has been health adviser to WHO, UNICEF and several aid agencies. In 1993 he was one of the initiators of Médecins Sans Frontières in Sweden.[6] At Karolinska Institutet he was head of the Division of International Health (IHCAR) from 2001 to 2007. As chairman of the Karolinska International Research and Training Committee (1998–2004) he started health research collaborations with universities in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. He started new courses on Global Health and co-authored a textbook on Global Health that promotes a fact-based world view.

Rosling presented the television documentary The Joy of Stats, which was broadcast in the United Kingdom by BBC Four in December 2010.[7] He presented a documentary Don't Panic – The Truth About Population for the This World series using a Musion 3D projection display,[8] which appeared on BBC Two in the UK in November 2013.[9] In 2015 he presented the documentary documentary 'Don’t Panic: How To End Poverty In 15 Years’ which was produced by Wingspan and aired on the BBC just ahead of the annunciation of the Sustainable Development Goals.[10][11]


Hans Rosling narrates 'Why Boat Refugees Don't Fly! - Factpod 16'. Produced by Gapminder Foundation
External video
The Best Stats You've Ever Seen[12]
Hans Rosling: Religions and babies[13]
How Not to Be Ignorant About the World[14] All from TED Talks

Rosling co-founded the Gapminder Foundation together with his son Ola Rosling and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund. Gapminder developed the Trendalyzer software that converts international statistics into moving, interactive graphics. His lectures using Gapminder graphics to visualise world development have won awards.[15] The interactive animations are freely available from the Foundation's website. On 16 March 2007 Google acquired the Trendalyzer software with the intention to scale it up and make it freely available for public statistics. In 2008 Google made available a Motion Chart Google Gadget and in 2009 the Public Data Explorer.[16] Rosling is also a sword swallower, as demonstrated in the final moments of his second talk at the TED conference.[17] In 2009 he was listed as one of 100 leading global thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine,[18] and in 2011 as one of 100 most creative people in business by the Fast Company Magazine.[19] In 2011 he was elected member of the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and in 2012 as member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Personal health

At the age of 20, doctors told Rosling that there was something wrong with his liver and as a consequence Rosling stopped drinking alcohol. In 1989, Rosling was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Over the years this progressed and Rosling developed liver cirrhosis. In the beginning of 2013 he was in early stages of liver failure. However, at the same time new Hepatitis C drugs were released and Rosling went to Japan to buy the drugs needed for curing the infection. He has since expressed concerns in media over the restricted use of the new drugs due to high costs, stating that it is a crime to not give every Hepatitis C patient access to the drugs.[20][21][22]


Hans Rosling at the Swedish pavilion of Expo 2010 in Shanghai
  • 2007 – Statistician of the Year Award from the Swedish Association for Statistics
  • 2007 – Jubilee Prize from the Swedish Medical Society
  • 2007 – Knowledge Prize from the National Encyclopaedia of Sweden
  • 2008 – Speaker of the Year from the Swedish Event Academy
  • 2008 – The Big Debate Award from Dagens Medicine
  • 2009 – Georg and Greta Borgstrom Award from the Swedish Royal Academy of Agriculture and Forestry
  • 2010 – Illis Quorum, Highest Award conferred by the Government of Sweden
  • 2010 – The Grand Prize from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2010 – Gold Medal from Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences
  • 2010 – World Technology Award in Design together with Ola Rosling & Anna Rosling Rönnlund
  • 2010 – The Gannon Award for the Continued Pursuit of Human Advancement (US)[23]
  • 2011 - Grierson 2011 Award for the Best British Science Documentary, presenter in "The Joy of Stats"
  • 2012 - Time 100 most influential people list
  • 2012 - International Swede of the Year
  • 2014 - Honorary Doctor at Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2014 - The Royal Patron´s Medal from the Royal Geographical Society of London.
  • 2014 - Honorary Doctor at the Open University, United Kingdom.
  • 2014 - Honorary Doctor at Oslo University, Norway.

Selected publications


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  11. ^ The Gapminder’s website lists information on the empirical data and research used as the basis for the documentary “Don’t Panic, How to End Poverty”: The sources used are World Bank data, Overseas Development Institute data, research results by Branko Milanovic, Our World in Data, and information from the Demographic and Health Surveys program. The research team included Hans Rosling, Max Roser, and Ola Rosling .
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External links

  • Quotations related to Hans Rosling at Wikiquote
  • Hans Rosling shows the best stats you've ever seen at the 2006 TED Conference in Monterey, CA highlighting novel ways of presenting global statistics.
  • Hans Rosling's new insights on poverty, from TED2007, featuring a surprise ending. (video)
  • Video of Hans Rosling speech at the OECD World Forum in Istanbul
  • Hans Rosling's blog
  • Ola Rosling giving a Gapminder presentation at Google (video)
  • Motion Chart Google Gadget
  • Hans Rosling: Global health expert; data visionary profile on
  • Hans Rosling on Twitter

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