David Miller

Physicist Turned Psychologist

Northwestern University

Visualizing and Thinking About Data

March 20, 2015

Have you ever looked at a New York Times interactive graphic and thought, “Wow, that’s so cool! I wish I knew how to create something like that”? Or are you interested in strengthening your data skills more broadly? If so, this blog may interest you.

I’m a physicist turned psychologist who’s decided to enter the blogosphere world. My first set of posts will focus on learning skills for creating interactive visualizations, like the one below which I created (kudos to Karl Broman for the inital code and idea!).

This is my blog’s target audience:

People wanting to strengthen their data skills.

  • This audience should be broad, given the rising importance of data skills in all employment fields.

People interested in thinking deeply about data.

  • I’ll talk about data and research that I find especially important and interesting. My interests focus on diversity in science and technology fields, but I may cover other topics as well.

People with a variety of technical and non-technical backgrounds.

  • I’ll focus on more advanced topics like machine learning and interactive visualization, but will provide links for learning more basic programming and statistics skills.
  • So don’t be scared away if you don’t already have strong technical training! Learning technical skills takes time, but several free online resources can help you do that (e.g., Codecademy).

About tools I will cover:

  • I’ll talk about using d3.js, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, R, and (maybe) Python.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t know those names already!
  • My blog will not focus on using SPSS and Stata, but may talk about how to transition to new languages from them (that’s what I did).

About myself:

So stay tuned for the next post about how to make sexy interactive graphics!