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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.

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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. 

Home: Personal Statement

Research dissemination

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! 

Home: Personal Statement


I have so far written three books. The last one came out in 2021.


Livsviktig ('Vital')


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."

The journal of the Norwegian Medical Association


"Captivating introduction to the world of statistics." 

Education. No. 1 2014 .

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Siffer ('Digits')


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

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Livsviktig ('Vital')


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. 

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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) .  

Home: Experience

"SIFFER" ('Digits')

NRK1 (2011)

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"

VGTV (2013)

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"

NRK1 (2017)

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.

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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 .   

Home: Portfolio

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. 

Jostein (2017)

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."

Ronald Fischer

Home: Quote


I have been on a number of different radio shows and podcasts, and eventually also created some of my own.

Home: Skills

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.

Home: Presentations

Chronicles etc

Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 28 February 2021:

Numbers are not neutral information


Aftenposten 23 August 2021:

Knowledge communication that works

Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 7 May 2021:

Statistical immortality

Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 23 April 2021:

Triangle drama  

Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 7 April 2021:

Simpson's paradox - when plus and plus becomes minus

Aftenposten Viten March 17, 2021:

The Abel Prize 2021: When even the world's most powerful computers are not enough

Aftenposten Viten 18 March 2020:

Abel Prize 2020: The power of a drunkard's walk

Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 26 February  2019:

Do you speak statistics?

Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 1 January 2019:

Kari and Ola do not exist

Jane and John do not exist

Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 4 December  2018:

It's not the size that matters

STAtOR  3.  September 2018: 

From politics to mathematics; Exploring optimal air ambulance base locations in Norway

Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 29 May 2018:

Predict or understand?

Knowing the numbers or knowing why?

Aftenposten Viten March 26, 2018:

Abel Prize: Mathematical teleportation


Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 26 June 2017:

The world's first parking value

The Guardian May 19, 2015:

Abel Prize 2015: John Nash, Louis Nirenberg and the maths of ice cream

Aftenposten 27 March 2015 and Aftenposten Insikt May 2015:

This year's Abel Prize winners: The secret behind a softie that melts

Morgenbladet 11 October 2012:

Let it swing properly


Aftenposten 18 April 2021:

Statistics professor in «My Oslo»: Fears that the city's organism will collapse over time.

Dagens Perspektiv March 29, 2021:

Life science is the moon landing of our time.

Dagsavisen March 23, 2021:

Got pig banged by the pig in sperm race.

GD March 21, 2021:

Jo from Lillehammer wonders why sex is the most popular way to reproduce .

Crazy about math (DK) March 1, 2021:

The Norwegian who made mathematics more popular than the X Factor. September 11, 2020:

We believe more  on numbers than on words 13 April 2020:

Mathematics in Corona times

Stavanger Aftenblad 7 May 2017:

The game of chance

Dagsavisen 29 April 2017:

Do not believe in eternal life

DG 9 April 2017:

Lillehamring clones its own sperm in the NRK program Easter Eve

VG April 9, 2017:

Bidro  with own sperm in TV program

University May 26, 2015:

Catchphrase research

Edit Insight January 16, 2015:

Dr. Jo Røislien: It's a great time for being a biostatistician!

knowledge + practice October 17, 2014:

Teasing researchers in dissemination

technical weekly 13 March 2014:

See how a gun is made

education 28 Feb 2014:

Jo Røislien makes a program for Discovery

Udir 2014:

The nerd who entered the world

inside 14 Jan 2014:

- I'm a math nerd

technical weekly 13 June 2013:

Here are the technology leaders' 12 best career tips

technical weekly 19 April 2012:

What are the world's biggest numbers? 24 Aug 2012:

- It was very scary

technical weekly 15 August 2012:

Must lead engineering program on Discovery Channel 14 Aug 2012:

The Incredible Journey - feat. Jo Røislien 13 May 2012:

- No no no! See which celebrities get slaughtered and bragged about on the red carpet

see and hear April 1, 2012:

Responds to all letters of proposal

see and hear March 29, 2012:

- They are more glamorous than us March 21, 2012:

The number man

goboken nov 2011:

What did Jo Røislien read as a child?

universitas 23 Nov 2011:

Dirty math 18 Nov 2011:

Dare to nerd and give the bluff in what is poppis!

see and hear 13 Nov 2011:

- They said: "Now we will shoot you"

technical weekly 11 Nov 2011:

- The multiplication table is not math

daily newspaper 28 Oct 2011:

The math man

see and hear 24 Oct 2011:

Got NRK job on damp nachspiel

see and hear 17 Oct 2011:

That's why he wears such t-shirts 4 Sep 2011:

He will help you understand math

Radio and podcast

Abels forgård NRK Radio 04.03.2022

Abels tårn [Abel's tower] -- the expert panel

Abels tårn NRK Radio 15.10.2021

The panel - Can one practice rolling sixes? // Corona cakes // Where does gold come from?

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

Jo Røislien believes it is not a crisis to make wrong choices in life. It can have great value.

Ekko NRK Radio 12.08.2021

Anti-panel: What's stupid about winning Olympic gold? The Olympic golds that Norway won in Tokyo are not just a good thing, and there are several reasons for that.

Ekko NRK Radio - Ekko 07.08.2021

The anti-panel: Celebrities in the public debate.


P1 afternoon from NRK Innlandet radio 27.07.2021

Today's summer guest is Jo Røislien and we talk about his new book, research on health and health communication and summer holidays.


Abels kjeller NRK Radio 02.07.2021

The deck problem.

Ekko NRK Radio 24.06.2021

Anti-panel: What's stupid about math? The panel is ready to turn upside down accepted truths. Today, what's stupid about math?

Abel's tower NRK Radio 18.06.2021

Courtyard - Need semen, eggs and uterus to make children?

Ekko NRK Radio 20.05.21

Anti-panel: What's wrong with technology? Jo Røislien, Mala Wang Naveen and Mathilde Fasting take us back to the Stone Age.

Ekko NRK Radio 29.04.21

The anti-panel: We turn upside down accepted truths. Today: What's good about men not being needed to have children?

Ekko NRK Radio 21.04.21

A technological quantum leap

The podcast 'The Space' 08.04.21 

The world's coolest equation?

Nitimen NRK Radio 07.04.21

Mathematician Jo Røislien has written the book "Vital - Sperm, genes and eternal life".

P1 afternoon from NRK Innlandet 30.03.2021

Today we will meet math-Jo, Jo Røislien from Lillehammer, known from the NRK series Siffer. He has written a book about life itself ...


Studio 2 NRK Radio 26.03.21

What is life? New book about sperm and math.

The podcast '30 minutes into the future '05.02.21 

Dissemination, knowledge and new rules

The podcast 'Hennings verden' 19.11.20

# 25 To count on the body, with Jo Røislien!

(also available on YouTube here ).

The podcast 'Breakthrough' 16.06.20

# 1 - Jo Røislien

NRK Radio 26.03.20

Echo - About Corona and mathematics

NRK P2 26.09.18

Studio 2 - Riehmann hypotheses

NRK P2 08.01.18

Studio 2 - Primtall

NRK Petre 26.04.17


NRK P2 22.11.2013:

Echo: physics in the rotating chamber

TV and video

30 minutes into the future 05.02.2021:

30 minutes with Jo Røislien: Dissemination, knowledge and new rules.

Henning's world 30.11.2020

# 25 Mathematics and Covid-19, with Jo Røislien!

NRK1 21.10.2011:

New again - part 1

New again - part 2

TVNorge 12.10.2011:

Tonight with Ylvis

NRK1 29.09.2012:

Lindmo: lotto millionaires

NRK1 05.09.2011:

Evening: Numbers - fun with math

Digital book bath

Jo Røislien and Inger Merete Hobbelstad on sperm, genes and eternal life 2021

Home: About

Saving lives with equations

Lecture during the Research Days 2018

Home: About

Too much information? 
Large datasets and chance events

Talk at TEDxOslo 2013

Home: About
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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. 

Home: About


Any questions? Send me an email.

Jo Røislien
Griniveien 34a
N - 0756 Oslo

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