In Memoriam: Hans Rosling

February 10, 2017
by Klaus von Grebmer

Economics is often a very dry matter, and statistics may be even dryer. And then along came Hans Rosling, a Swedish doctor of medicine who had the extraordinary gift to break down complex issues and explain them in very simple terms that would stick in your mind. Unforgotten is his impressive explanation of population growth using toilet paper rolls. He was innovative and always willing to find the creative solutions that people would not forget. And on a nice sunny day he would also swallow a sword—no kidding. We in IFPRI communications loved him and his Gapminder methodology that could show data in an easy-to-understand way. Unable to attend our 2020 conference Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health in New Delhi in person in 2011, he made his contribution for IFPRI in a video, and the audience was appreciative.

Hans died on Feb. 7, much too young at the age of 68. His personality, his work and the way he presented it will continue to shake up dry economic issues for a long time; Hans was a real innovator.

Klaus von Grebmer is an IFPRI Research Fellow Emeritus and Strategic Advisor in the Director General's Office. Prior to joining DGO, he was director of IFPRI's Communications Division.