Speech Showcase: Hans Rosling at the TED Conference

Representing data in a unique and compelling way

This brief presentation by Hans Rosling revolutionized the way I understand statistical data. He gave this presentation at the TED Conference in February 2006. The TED Website explains:

Rosling is professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, his current work focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world, which (he points out) is no longer worlds away from the west. In fact, most of the third world is on the same trajectory toward health and prosperity, and many countries are moving twice as fast as the west did.

What sets Rosling apart isn’t just his apt observations of broad social and economic trends, but the stunning way he presents them. Guaranteed: You’ve never seen data presented like this. By any logic, a presentation that tracks global health and poverty trends should be, in a word: boring. But in Rosling’s hands, data sings. Trends come to life. And the big picture — usually hazy at best — snaps into sharp focus.

Rosling’s presentations are grounded in solid statistics (often drawn from United Nations data), illustrated by the visualization software he developed. The animations transform development statistics into moving bubbles and flowing curves that make global trends clear, intuitive and even playful. During his legendary presentations, Rosling takes this one step farther, narrating the animations with a sportscaster’s flair.

The good news is that since Google bought the rights to Professor Rosling’s Gapminder software, anyone can create these animated demonstrations of their own statistical data and use them in presentations. What’s not to like about that?

It’s worth downloading the Hi-Res version to get the impact of the charts on a full screen, or click on the icon below to watch the low-res version.

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I have never seen such a wonderful and magical presentation.

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