11 July 2012

Hans Rosling

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.

Study and career

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. He became a licenced 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[citation needed]. 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] in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 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. At Karolinska Institutet he was head of the Division of International Health (IHCAR) from 2001 to 2007. As chairman of 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.[6]


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.[7] 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.[8]
Rosling is also a sword swallower, as demonstrated in the final moments of his second talk at the TED conference.[9] In 2009 he was listed as one of 100 leading global thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine,[10] and in 2011 as one of 100 most creative people in business by the Fast Company Magazine.[11] In 2011 he was elected member of the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and in 2012 as member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences.


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)[12]
  • 2011 - Grierson 2011 Award for the Best British Science Documentary, presenter in "The Joy of Stats"
  • 2012 - Time 100 most influential people list

Selected publications

  • Thorson, A.; Ragnarsson, A.; Rosling, H.; Ekström, A. (2010). "Male circumcision reduces HIV transmission. The risk of transmission from woman to man is halved". Lakartidningen 107 (46): 2881–2883. PMID 21197783. edit
  • Hanson, S.; Thorson, A.; Rosling, H.; Örtendahl, C.; Hanson, C.; Killewo, J.; Ekström, A. M. (2009). Husereau, Don. ed. "Estimating the Capacity for ART Provision in Tanzania with the Use of Data on Staff Productivity and Patient Losses". PLoS ONE 4 (4): e5294. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0005294. PMC 2667213. PMID 19381270. edit
  • Von Schreeb, J.; Riddez, L.; Samnegård, H.; Rosling, H. (2008). "Foreign field hospitals in the recent sudden-onset disasters in Iran, Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan". Prehospital and disaster medicine : the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in association with the Acute Care Foundation 23 (2): 144–151; discussion 151–3. PMID 18557294. edit
  • Schell, C. O.; Reilly, M.; Rosling, H.; Peterson, S.; Ekström, A. M. (2007). "Socioeconomic determinants of infant mortality: A worldwide study of 152 low-, middle-, and high-income countries". Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 35 (3): 288–297. DOI:10.1080/14034940600979171. PMID 17530551. edit
  • Von Schreeb, J.; Rosling, H.; Garfield, R. (2007). "Mortality in Iraq". The Lancet 369 (9556): 101. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60058-0. PMID 17223462. edit
  • Elrayah, H.; Eltom, M.; Bedri, A.; Belal, A.; Rosling, H.; Ostenson, C. (2005). "Economic burden on families of childhood type 1 diabetes in urban Sudan". Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 70 (2): 159–165. DOI:10.1016/j.diabres.2005.03.034. PMID 15919129. edit
  • Thanh, H. T. T.; Jiang, G. X.; Van, T. N.; Minh, D. P. T.; Rosling, H.; Wasserman, D. (2005). "Attempted suicide in Hanoi, Vietnam". Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 40 (1): 64–71. DOI:10.1007/s00127-005-0849-6. PMID 15624077. edit
  • Rosling, H. (2004). "New map of world health is needed. North and South is changed to healthy and ill and West to rich and poor". Lakartidningen 101 (3): 198–201. PMID 14763091. edit

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