For five years, Hans Rosling has been wowing the crowds at TED with mythbusting presentations on international development. (“I’m most creative,” Rosling says, “in getting my son and his wife to do the work. I’m the edutainer of the family.”) His Trendalyzer software, bought by Google in 2007, creates captivating stories out of statistics on GDP, education, and birth rates. Watch Rosling’s moving bubble charts and you’ll realize that the world is no longer divided between the West and the rest, and that people everywhere raise smaller families when they get healthy and wealthy. His latest graphical adventure explains how the real development gap exists between people with and without access to washing machines. “I call our approach ‘fact-based vulgar simplification,’ ” says Rosling, a professor of international health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet. “We look like a tabloid newspaper from the front but a university from the back.”
The idea is to go from numbers to information to understanding.
Watch Rosling perform chart magic in the BBC’s The Joy of Stats.
Watch Rosling’s 2010 TED talk.