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RIP Hans Rosling: The data wizard who helped us visualize a better world

Credit: Gapminder

The Swedish physician and statistics expert Hans Rosling died today, age 68, from pancreatic cancer. Humanosphere has met with and reported on Rosling‘s work for many years. As a professor at the Karolinska Institute and founder of the viz-info site Gapminder, he made the data showing humanity’s progress against disease and poverty so compelling and easily understood it can be like watching an action movie. Rosling was almost always the voice of optimism, but as one of our later stories illustrated he sometimes used his powerful skills at visualizing information to make a difficult or even politically charged point – in this case chastising Europe for its ‘pathetic support’ given at the time to Syrian refugees.

In this era of fake news, post-truth and other problems caused by the failure to accept or understand the facts Rosling’s simple and powerful talent for presenting information will be sorely missed.


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.