Skip to content

OU on the BBC: The Joy Of Stats

Updated Thursday 22nd November 2012

Hans Rosling takes a journey into the heart of statistics - and shows why they're anything but dull.


Copyright The Open University


Copyright The Open University


Believe me, there’s nothing boring about statistics. Especially today when we can make the data sing.

With statistics, we can really make sense of the world.

Join me on a fascinating journey to discover how, from crime to health, from language learning to the way science itself is conducted, the answers, the insights and yes the beauty lie in the stats.

The Joy Of Stats will take you on a fascinating journey into the world of statistics - and the remarkable power they have to change our understanding of the world we live in.

Swedish academic superstar Hans Rosling uses the power of statistics to change our understanding of global development over the last 300 years, and he'll be your guide through The Joy Of Stats. From the bowels of some of the world's greatest supercomputers to the frontlines of scientific discovery, Hans exposes the explosive growth of an extraordinary new method of understanding ourselves and our Universe.

The Joy Of Stats can be seen again on BBC Four, Wednesday 13th July at 8.00pm  For further transmission details, visit

Watch The Joy Of Stats

More statistics from OpenLearn


For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

The Joy Of Stats: watch the programmes Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Stefan Nilsson / Gapminder audio icon

TV, Radio & Events 

The Joy Of Stats: watch the programmes

Hans Rosling brings statistics to life in our series of short films.

5 mins
Infants’ understanding of their social world Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Education & Development 

Infants’ understanding of their social world

In this free course, Infants' understanding of their social world, we draw on a wide range of psychological research to address the question of whether infants have a rich understanding of their social world. You will have the opportunity to read journal papers and newspaper articles as well as to engage with audio clips, and to explore your assumptions about infants' social understanding.

Free course
12 hrs
Hans Rosling: Unveiling data on the world's health Creative commons image Icon Wingspan Productions under Creative-Commons license video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Hans Rosling: Unveiling data on the world's health

In an animated fashion, Hans Rosling shows us the correct way to display data on health across the world.

10 mins


Opening the Boundaries of Citizenship

How do we define being a citizen? In what ways has the idea of citizenship expanded? At a time when tumultuous world events, from Israel to India, call for a deeper understanding of the purpose and power of citizenship

1 hr
OU on the BBC this week 04-12-10 to 10-12-10 Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Open University article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC this week 04-12-10 to 10-12-10

 There's a statistical theme this week, as More Or Less returns to shake truth from statistics, and we dive into the Joy Of Stats.


History & The Arts 

Introducing Religions

Why study religion? An understanding of the world’s religious traditions is crucial in helping us to appreciate not just the varied forms of belief and practice that we encounter at home, abroad and in the media, but also the influence that religion has on world affairs. This course offers an introduction to the study of religions, and in particular to six major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, including the various roles of their founders and leaders, their texts, rituals, practices and behaviors. This practical insight will enable you to develop a better understanding of different beliefs and worldviews and what these mean to their adherents. This material is taken from The Open University Course A217 Introducing Religions.

1 hr 45 mins

History & The Arts 


Open University ethnomusicologist Martin Clayton describes how his study of music and its performance in different cultural settings has allowed him to develop his understanding of the concept of entrainment. His research into this phenomenon is providing key insights into the synchronisation of rhythmic processes in humans and in the natural world. To find out more, follow the research links.

5 mins
Paul O'Grady's Working Britain: Order your free copy of 'A journal of working class life' Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Paul O'Grady's Working Britain: Order your free copy of 'A journal of working class life'

Order a free booklet exploring different aspects of working class life in Britain through the years.

Child of Our Time: Try our surveys Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC activity icon

Education & Development 

Child of Our Time: Try our surveys

How does your sense of self compare with other people? How good are you at performing complex tasks? How do you and your children cope with stress? Try our surveys to find out