The Swedish Skeptics (a.k.a VoF or Vetenskap och Folkbildning) announced the winners of their 2018 awards on 2 Jan.
Winner of “Enlightener of the Year” award was “Fråga Lund” (“Ask Lund”) which is a popular TV show where viewers submits questions to a panel of professors, researchers and experts. Fråga Lund, which was revived in 2016 after an hiatus since 2000, has had a great outreach with over a million viewers per episode.
Winner of the ironic “‘Bewilderer’ of the Year” award was the author and public speaker Thomas Erikson, for his book “Omgiven av idioter” (“Surrounded by Idiots”). The book and its sequels are based on the DISC / DISA personality inventory theory and claim to teach you how to divide people into red, yellow, green and blue personality types and how to best handle them based on their colour. The theory has no scientific support and Thomas Erikson has gained a big following with the books selling up towards a million copies, despite having no grounds in proven theory.
Swedish professor Hans Rosling has died on 7 February 2017, a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 68 years old.
Professor Rosling made a name for himself internationally as an outspoken promotor of a factual approach to looking at the state of the world. Celebrated by the Swedish and international public for his dedication to demonstrate how the public world view is often inaccurate, Prof. Rosling was highly regarded by the skeptical movement, among other things giving a superb talk at the European Skeptics Congress 2013 in Stockholm, as well as several TED talks.
Prof. Hans Rosling received the award “Enlightener of the Year” 2006 by the Swedish Skeptics Association (VoF).
Over the last couple of years he continued to work relentlessly to show the true facts about the immigration crises in Europe among other things, and during the Ebola epidemic 2015 he personally flew down to Liberia and spent several months there helping out as a volonteer, while constantly keeping the public at large informed of the extent of the disaster. Often controversial in his approach, he resented the focus on him as a person while insisting that the facts are what is important.
The Swedish Skeptics Association (aka Vetenskap och Folkbildning, or VoF) has awarded science editor Maria Gunther and medical journalist Amina Manzoor of the science editorial at DN (Dagens Nyheter) with the prize Enlightener of the Year 2016 (DN is the largest morning paper in Sweden). The Swedish Skeptics Association hereby wants to emphasize the importance of leading media understanding the value of maintaining a permanent and accurate reporting of current scientific research.
Says Dan Katz, Press Officer at VoF: “It is imperative that the established media helps the public to navigate the arbitrary flow of information which bombards us all on-line. In this turmoil the science editorial of DN are shining like beacon of facts in the dark.”
The award for Obscurantist of the Year 2016 goes to former head of Karolinska Institutet (KI), Anders Hamsten, together with others in the management of KI who helped to cover up the fraudulent research performed by surgeon Paolo Macchiarini.
Says Peter Olausson, acting president of VoF: “It is particularly severe that the management totally disregarded the investigation that pointed out what had happened. It is a mockery of the patients concerned and of all serious science researchers who cannot, and will not, compromise ethics and good science.”
Dan Larhammar, current board member and former President of VoF (aka the Swedish Skeptics Association) has been appointed “Pharmacist of the year 2016” by the organisation Svensk Farmaci (Swedish Pharmacy). The prize is awarded every year to a “phamacist in Sweden who through his/her actions has contributed to strenghten, develop or confirm the role of pharmacy in society”.
Dan Larhammar is a pharmacist and a professor of molecular cell biology at the University of Uppsala. He is also a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science and is a long time member of the board of VoF, where he served as President 1998-2004. His research includes functional studies of neuropeptides and peptide hormones. His research in the 1990s was the first to be able to clone receptors for the neurotransmitter neuropeptide Y (NPY), which among other things are associated with obesity, memory and learning.