Tuesday, 7 February 2017

RIP Hans Rosling

Sad news picked up on the way home from school today about the death of Hans Rosling, who did more than anyone else to bring data to life, campaign for a worldview based on facts, challenge assumptions about development, explain the demographic changes that countries go through, and explain the small changes that made a big difference to people's lives.
I remember first coming across Gapminder when it launched and using the tool with 6th formers, and then slowly moved it further down the school, and then the idea of the Gapminder Casino which was brought to the GA Conference.

In my last conference as a GA employee I had the privilege of meeting Hans after his keynote lecture, at the Guildford conference in 2011 - here's my conference programme with the session circled...

I've used Hans' TED talks, his explanations involving lego and toilet rolls and a washing machine, and some more recent short videos. I was proud to be on the Gapminder teacher panel, and as recently as last week was in touch with Anna from Gapminder about the latest Dollar Street updates, which have been captivating my KS3 students.
My Twitter feed has been full of people expressing their sorrow and sharing their memories of Hans and how his work influenced them...

Decades of work raising consciousness will be part of Hans' legacy, but there are bound to be generations of geographers to come who will be introduced to his work, or stumble across it, and the work of the Gapminder foundation will continue. I'm genuinely sorry that Hans won't be here to scrutinise and expose the flaws in some of the current data trends and 'alternative facts' in a world in flux...

An obituary from The Guardian here.

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