Statistics professor Di Cook was one of the first people I ever talked to about visualization. She has a short Q&A over at StatsChat.

I spent a few years doing that [a research assistant] and then realised I’d really like to make art, because some of the research-assistant work I was doing was computer graphics for data online. It fed into my art instincts from teenage years, so I spent some time as an artist before finding a graduate programme in statistics in the US that focused on data visualisation.

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Nathan Yau
http://flowingdata.com

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