University of Skövde announces new honorary doctors: Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund


Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has called their book Factfulness one of the most important books of our times. And the book is at the top of the sales charts in Sweden. The authors and founders of the Gapminder Foundation, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund are appointed Honorary Doctors of Informatics of the University of Skövde.

Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

New honorary doctors at the University of Skövde: Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund. Photographer: Jann Lipka

– We are so very honored! This is really exciting, say Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Ola Rosling on their appontment.

The duo will be appointed honorary doctors for their work in the field of Informatics in making complex statistics about the world's development in health, society, finances and environment attainable and understandable for a wider public. Their work is a contribution to a sustainable, global development.

Making statistics understandable

Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Ola Rosling created the foundation Gapminder in 2005 together with Hans Rosling, who passed away in 2017. Today, they run the foundation with the purpose of fighting ignorance and misconceptions about global development. Even before 2005, Ola and Anna had begun helping Hans with computerized visuals. They wanted to make his number-heavy and somewhat dry statistics more exciting and easier to understand. Together, they developed the "bubble tool" Trendalyzer. Ola was in charge of programming and Anna of the design.

A need for a neutral source for public information

The tool was later bought by Google, and the couple moved to California for a few years to assist in developing the tool even further. That is where the idea of being able to explain the statistics, outside of Hans' lectures and the software, started to grow. The idea of the book Factfulness was born. Sadly, Hans never got to see the completion of the project, due to pancreatic cancer.

– We have worked with the book full time for two years. The first year, together with Hans, and the second year we carried on without him. The gradual creation of the book has been a very exciting journey, says Anna Rönnlund, and continues:

– The book has been very well received. We could not even begin to anticipate this appreciation. It is already set to be translated into 33 language, and that clearly speaks for itself. In our current times, there is a need for a neutral source of information, just as there has always been and always will be. Therefore, we are delighted that the book has had such an impact.

In line with the work at the University

– In a time where alternative facts are widely spread, it is important that we fight ignorance with objective facts. When facts are shared in a way that makes everyone able to understand the state of the world, it is possible to make wise decisions on development. In combination with their authorship, the effort that Anna and Ola has made in creating the foundation Gapminder and the software that visualizes the complex statistics are the perfect reasons for their suitability as honorary doctors in Information Technology at the University of Skövde. Their work covers the areas information technology, health and sustainable development, which is in line with the common theme for the University, says dean Anne Persson, professor in computer science.

Appointment and lecture on October 5

On October 5, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund will be in Skövde for their official appointment and a lecture during the University's academic celebration.




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