Hans Rosling
Credit: Harvard University

RIP Hans Rosling, a man who made global development data come alive.

Hans Rosling made good data look great.

If you are reading this post, you’ve probably caught glimpse of one of his viral videos that distills big data into compelling narratives about humanity’s progress in fighting extreme poverty and its pathologies, like maternal and child mortality. He was a university professor, statistician and medical doctor who could electrify audiences with presentations about topics as seemingly mundane and gross domestic product, poverty, and birth rates. He founded the Gapminder institute and 10 years ago dedicated his career to upending conventional wisdom about extreme poverty and explaining humanity’s unrelenting progress against it.

He died today from pancreatic cancer, but his legacy lives on.

Here is is breakout hit from a TED Talk in 2007. It’s as fascinating and relevant today as it was 10 years ago.

RIP, Hans Rosling.