I am a research scientist, communicator, author. I have the hair of a Norwegian troll, drink instant coffee with milk, and think yesterday is overrated. I am a professor of medical statistics at the University of Stavanger, and have been involved in numerous research projects in medicine and health. Scientific analysis of the human body is fascinating, frustrating, and always-present in my head. While other researchers tend to lecture in worn classrooms and lecture halls, I lecture on TV. I have been in front of and behind the camera on several science TV series for NRK, Discovery Channel and VGTV.
The application of statistics in medical research has revolutionized the way we can single out effective treatment methods from those that do not work. This has been so important that in 2000 the British journal New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) highlighted"the use of statistics" as one of the 10 most important advances in medicine over the last 1000 years . As a biostatistician, this is what I do, in various ways.
In addition to mathematical and statistical theorizing, philosophizing and method development, I spend a lot of time helping to analyze real data from the real world, to solve real medical problems and challenges. Applying a wrong analysis results in a wrong answer, so in order to find out what conclusions you can actually draw from the information you have collected, you often need help from people who live and breathe for the analysis itself, rather than the medical conclusion. People like me, that is.
I am, and have been, involved in a series of collaborations with various medical research groups. I am currently a professor of medical statistics at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Stavanger (UiS) and senior researcher at the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation (SNLA). I have written well over 100 medical research articles, most of which are registered in Pubmed .
I am interested in large-scale communication of research and science, and 2020-2022 I am project manager for the research project COVCOM , which performs research into evidence-based dissemination of health sciences using video.
In addition to doing research, I have spent considerable time disseminating research and science. Life sciences, medicine and health in particular have been central to me -- and in particular mathematical subjects. I have created TV and film, written books and op-eds, and produced podcasts. I've participated in numerous talk shows on TV and in radio programs, and given dozens upon dozens of interviews in newspapers and magazines. I've also received various awards and nominations for my dissemination work.
2017 - Dissemination Award at the University of Stavanger
2016 - Winner of Gullruten (Norwegian Emmy) for physics TV series Life on the line with Andreas Wahl
2015 - Webby Honoree Award (UK) for Chasing the World's Largest Number
2014 - Silver award The most beautiful books of the year for statistics book Tall Forteller
2013 - Statistics promoter of the year in Sweden
2012 - Nominated for Voice of the Year by Natt og dag (Night & Day) .
2011 - Two nominations for Gullruten (Norwegian Emmy) for mathematics edutainment series Siffer
I have received financial support from, among others The Research Council of Norway , Abel Prize , Fritt Ord , Norwegian non-fiction writers association , Norwegian Statistical Association and Tekna for various dissemination projects. Thank you so much for the support!
TV and movies
I have been in front of and behind the camera on a series of TV and film productions, including mathematics-infotainment TV series "Siffer" (NRK1, 2011) and life sciences series "Kampen om livet" (NRK1, 2017). In the autumn of 2012, I was the first ever Norwegian presenter on the Discovery Channel.
Together with director Christian Holm-Glad, I run film company Bulldozer Film , which among others focuses on creating innovative communication of knowledge on TV and film.
For more, see my page on the International Movie Database (IMDb) .
Together with TV production company Teddy TV I was involved in creating success TV series Siffer for NRK: An entertainment TV series about numbers, mathematics and statistics for everyone, broadcasted on NRK1 the fall of 2011. The series averaged more than 500,000 viewers, and was always the most watched program on TV when it aired. The last program had 677,000 viewers; over 40% of everyone watching TV. A collection of tweets after the broadcast of the last episode 13/11 2011 can be found her . Siffer was nominated for Gullruten 2012 in the categories "Best magazine or lifestyle program" and "Best new program series". The series was also broadcasted on SVT1 and YLE in the fall of 2013.
"An important reason why Siffer has become such a fun, entertaining and extremely interesting program is the playful, small-minded host Jo Røislien." Stavanger Aftenblad
"A number cruncher to be reckoned with. Just start the countdown. Siffer can be for numbers what Typically Norwegian was for language." VG
"This is math even for those who fear math the most." Aftenposten
"Countdown to collision"
Discovery Channel (2012)
As the first Norwegian ever, I was host on Discovery Channel in the autumn of 2012. Engineering TV series Countdown to Collision takes a closer look at various safety-related inventions in industrial workplaces worldwide. Troll A, Stansted, a gold mine in Australia, a dam in Brazil, the port of Rotterdam, an icebreaker in Siberia.
"Chasing the world's largest numbers"
A mathematical short story from California. A maths road trip where the viewer is taken on an associative journey through thoughts and concepts related to large numbers, from the astronomical to Graham's numbers. The series has been shown as a short film at a number of film festivals around the world, from the short film festival in Grimstad, to the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Festival. In 2015, it was awarded a Webby Honoree Award , for "excellence on the internet" .
"How do they do IT?"
Discovery Channel (2014)
We surround ourselves with thousands of things. And everything has once been made, found, transported, built. In How do they do it? I travel the world to show you everything from the ordinary to the extra-ordinary.
"larger than life"
A TV series about biotechnology and life sciences. Can we clone ourselves, cure cancer, eradicate hunger or use bacteria to cure diseases? These are some of the big questions biostatistician and host Jo Røislien explores in the new popular science series.
Science communication and TV and film.
In addition to making TV series with scientific content where I myself have been in front of the camera, I have also been involved in making TV and film projects for others, as an executive producer and screenwriter, as well as dissemination of science in collaboration with commercial actors, mainly research and scripts.
I have worked with the communications agency Anorak on their Don't Skip Brain Day campaign for SATS to promote the importance of exercise as a health-promoting measure and Pexip's work with Ultra Low Latency for audio synchronization in video conferencing, with TRY for DNB and their work to help teach children and young people about personal finance , and Los og co in their work for the Norwegian Public Roads Administration on traffic safety .
Felleskjøpet - Kjedereaksjonen (2021)
Produced by Bulldozer Film for Felleskjøpet
Directed by: Christian Holm-Glad
A Rube Goldberg machine -
with organic elements and living life.
'Lærepenger' from DNB (2019)
Produced by Bacon for DnB
Directed by: Christian Holm-Glad
Exchanging stuff is good; but you do not always have what I want while I have what you want want, the so-called 'the double coincidence of wants' .
Telia Brain (2017)
Produced by Bacon for Telia.
Directed by: Christian Holm-Glad
A research project on how measuring the brain can reveal your music preferences.
Telia Music Freedom (2017)
Produced by Bacon for Telia.
Directed by: Christian Holm-Glad
Research results on the association between music and physical and mental health.
Produced by Bulldozer Film for the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation. Director: Eivind Landsvik.
I have worked with anaesthesiologist Jostein Hagemo on his research on Fibrinogen. A longer version of the film can be found at homepage of the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation.
With life at stake (2016)
Produced by Bulldozer Film for NRK.
Directed by: Christian Holm-Glad.
Andreas Wahl tests the laws of physics putting his life on the line.
Sushi and nuclear power (2015)
Produced by Bulldozer Film for VGTV.
Directed by: Christian Holm-Glad
Nuclear physicist Sunniva Rose explains nuclear forces.
"To call in the statistician after the experiment is done may be no more than asking him to perform a post-mortem examination: he may be able to say what the experiment died of."
I have so far written three books. The last one came out in 2021.
Sperm, genes and eternal life. A book on life sciences. Why has sex become the most popular form of reproduction on the planet? Can an animal be exterminated twice? And how is it possible to make mouse pups with two biological mothers, and no father? Buy online here .
"I shuddered when I read it. In a laboratory in China, scientists had created baby mice with two mothers. No father. One thousand million years of evolution erased in an instant. If you want to understand how something like this is possible, you cannot sit still. You must travel. Travel in time, travel in space, and travel in your mind. This book is that travel. "
The book has been purchased by the Norwegian Cultural Council.
tall forteller ('number-stories')
Is the world the way you think it is? Together with statistician Kathrine Frey Frøslie, I have written an introductory book in basic statistical analysis, with a focus on understanding rather than formulas. Everything is learned by performing a handful of excercises yourself. Along with the book comes a free app which performs all the statistical calculations required. Buy online here .
"A gem of a statistics book."
"Captivating introduction to the world of statistics."
Following the TV series "Siffer", I and writer Magnus Nome from Teddy TV, who co-wrote the script for "Siffer", wrote a book with the same name. Here we gathered various anecdotes and favorite stories that for various reasons didn't fit in the TV series. Read more about the book at publisher Versal website.
"With 80 short texts on 160 airy pages, cult TV host Jo Røislien and screenwriter Magnus Nome manage to turn knowledge fromthe world of numbers into educational entertainment. There is no greater art."
Knut Olav Åmås in Aftenposten, January 8, 2012
I have been on a number of different radio shows and podcasts, and eventually also created some of my own.
A sick world (2020)
In a few months, the coronavirus struck out the whole world community in the spring of 2020. But this is not the first time the world is getting sick. I'm talking with smart people about the pandemics of the past, and the present. What happens when a virus takes over a cell? Is Ebola too deadly for its own good? Were the rats really to blame for the black death? Why did the Reagen administration flirt with AIDS? How should the authorities talk about a pandemic? And what's the point of 8% of our genes being from viruses?
The Podcast on Academic Writing (2019)
Together with a number of outstanding researchers and writers, I chat about writing academic texts in one podcast on academic writing . The podcast is a collaboration between the libraries at the University of Stavanger, Østfold University College and Nord University. The project is supported by the National Library.
I have written several op-eds, given numerous interviews in newspapers and magazines, as well as appearances on radio and TV.
Below is a list of things that are digitally available.
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 28 February 2021:
Aftenposten 23 August 2021:
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 7 May 2021:
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 23 April 2021:
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 7 April 2021:
Aftenposten Viten March 17, 2021:
Aftenposten Viten 18 March 2020:
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 26 February 2019:
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 1 January 2019:
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 4 December 2018:
STAtOR 3. September 2018:
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 29 May 2018:
Aftenposten Viten March 26, 2018:
Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 26 June 2017:
The Guardian May 19, 2015:
Aftenposten 27 March 2015 and Aftenposten Insikt May 2015:
Morgenbladet 11 October 2012:
Aftenposten 18 April 2021:
Dagens Perspektiv March 29, 2021:
Dagsavisen March 23, 2021:
GD March 21, 2021:
Crazy about math (DK) March 1, 2021:
nrk.no September 11, 2020:
Utdanningsnytt.no 13 April 2020:
Stavanger Aftenblad 7 May 2017:
Dagsavisen 29 April 2017:
DG 9 April 2017:
VG April 9, 2017:
University May 26, 2015:
Edit Insight January 16, 2015:
knowledge + practice October 17, 2014:
technical weekly 13 March 2014:
education 28 Feb 2014:
inside 14 Jan 2014:
technical weekly 13 June 2013:
technical weekly 19 April 2012:
side2.no 24 Aug 2012:
technical weekly 15 August 2012:
forskning.no 14 Aug 2012:
minmote.no 13 May 2012:
see and hear April 1, 2012:
see and hear March 29, 2012:
studvest.no March 21, 2012:
goboken nov 2011:
universitas 23 Nov 2011:
studenttorget.no 18 Nov 2011:
see and hear 13 Nov 2011:
technical weekly 11 Nov 2011:
daily newspaper 28 Oct 2011:
see and hear 24 Oct 2011:
see and hear 17 Oct 2011:
nrk.no 4 Sep 2011:
Radio and podcast
Abels forgård NRK Radio 04.03.2022
Abels tårn NRK Radio 15.10.2021
NRK Radio - Studio 2 08.10.2021
The requirement to have four in math to get into teacher education seems to be scrapped, but how much mathematics do we really need to know and why has this particular subject gained such a high status?
Between heaven and earth NRK Radio 15.08.2021
Ekko NRK Radio 12.08.2021
Ekko NRK Radio - Ekko 07.08.2021
P1 afternoon from NRK Innlandet radio 27.07.2021
Abels kjeller NRK Radio 02.07.2021
Ekko NRK Radio 24.06.2021
Abel's tower NRK Radio 18.06.2021
Ekko NRK Radio 20.05.21
Ekko NRK Radio 29.04.21
Ekko NRK Radio 21.04.21
The podcast 'The Space' 08.04.21
Nitimen NRK Radio 07.04.21
P1 afternoon from NRK Innlandet 30.03.2021
Studio 2 NRK Radio 26.03.21
The podcast '30 minutes into the future '05.02.21
The podcast 'Hennings verden' 19.11.20
(also available on YouTube here ).
The podcast 'Breakthrough' 16.06.20
NRK Radio 26.03.20
NRK P2 26.09.18
NRK P2 08.01.18
NRK Petre 26.04.17
NRK P2 22.11.2013:
TV and video
30 minutes into the future 05.02.2021:
Henning's world 30.11.2020
Digital book bath
Jo Røislien and Inger Merete Hobbelstad on sperm, genes and eternal life 2021
Saving lives with equations
Lecture during the Research Days 2018
Too much information?
Large datasets and chance events
Talk at TEDxOslo 2013
I have given over 300 lectures, especially on "The art of communicating the complicated" and dissemination of professional information in such a way that it reaches out - and remembered. I also give regular motivational lectures on mathematics: What do you do with it? What is it used for? Where can you see it in everyday life and the world around you? Hos Athenas is a list of frequently given lectures in one-or-other variant. I also give lectures with specially adapted content.
I have given lectures to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Children and Youth, the Ministry of the Environment, the Directorate of Labor, Udir, Tekna, NITO, NMBU, Oslo and Akershus University College, Oslo University Hospital, the National Institute of Public Health, the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation, the Norwegian Communications Association, Gyldendal Forlag, Mathematics and science conferences for teachers and school leaders in kindergarten, primary school and upper secondary school around the country, the award ceremony for the Abel competition (the annual mathematics competition for primary school students), the Holmboe award ceremony, the Library Manager conference, Reserachers' Night for upper secondary students in Trøndelag, 12 three days), Student Society in Trondheim, Kvarteret in Bergen, Kolbotn Kulturhus, Litteraturhuset in Fredrikstad, Litteraturhuset in Bergen, Litteraturhuset in Oslo, TEDx, Lærerutdanningen in Århus, Denmark, Nordic Council of Ministers, Geek Picnic in Moscow, Russia, Forskningsjournalistlaget in Almaty, Kazakhstan.