The Curated History of Data Science, Part 2

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She isn’t your typical English girl from the early 1800s. She’s a girl who, because of her fortunate and unfortunate family circumstances, ends up perfectly situated to become part of something that will revolutionize the world. Ginette: “For many reasons, she isn’t your typical English girl from the early 1800s. She’s a girl who at one point examines birds to discover their body-to-wing ratio so she can invent a flying machine and write a book about it. These are goals that show mathematical skill, creativity, and initiative. She’s also a girl who, because of her fortunate and unfortunate family circumstances, ends up perfectly situated to become part of something that will revolutionize the world.” Ginette: “I’m Ginette.” Curtis: “And I’m Curtis.” Ginette: “And you are listening to Data Crunch.” Curtis: “A podcast about how data and prediction shape our world.” Ginette: “A Vault Analytics production.” Curtis: “In our last episode on the history of data science, we talked about the origins of charts and data visualization, which are an important to data science, but in today’s story, we’re going to start a new thread that’s absolutely essential to the fabric of this history. We’re going to talk about some brilliant inventors that gave rise to an idea that would change the course of history—arguably one of the most powerful ideas that has shaped our modern world. It’s a story of triumph and innovation, but also of tragedy, because even though the ideas they moved forward had a dramatic effect on all of us in the long run, in the short term, many of these people saw their dreams fall apart before their eyes. So today and in our next episode, we pay homage to some key people who started the wave that gave us technology that makes our modern lives possible. And we’re gonna to do that first by getting back to the story of the girl we mentioned in the intro.” Ginette: “Interestingly enough, this episode ties into our last episode in an unexpected way. The little girl we introduced to you earlier is born about the same time as Florence Nightingale. She’s about five years older. “We have to understand a little bit about her parents, Annabella and George, to have a better insight into her, so here’s a peek into their lives: They’re both highly intelligent, capable, and well-educated, and they’re from high society. George is more verbal and artistic, and Annabella is more logical and mathematical. “From the start, the pair is not a good match. Annabella sees George’s flaws, but she also sees George’s potential. Beyond that, Annabella is probably attracted to his very handsome (as a lot of people describe him), bad-boy, wild-and-wooly type. One good example of his rebellious nature and disdain for authority is how he exploits a loophole in college to flout what he considers is an absolutely outrageous school rule: since the university won’t let him bring his cherished pet dog with him, he defiantly keeps in his Cambridge University apartments a tame pet bear. Essentially, as loopholes work, the rule doesn’t explicitly say no pet bears, so the university in his mind can’t immediately do anything about it—this may be partly why he only lasts there a term. Anyway, these are the types of things Annabella thinks she can change about George. “On George’s side of things, he notices Annabella’s sharp intellect. She’s incredibly smart. From early childhood, her parents recognize her natural brilliance and essentially give her what most women can’t get in those days—the equivalent of a Cambridge University education. Something else George likes about Annabella is that she’s down to earth. So eventually, he proposes to her, and probably against her better judgement, she says ‘yes’, and they get married, but within a year, things get messy. “She notices George’s strange behavior. He’s dark, he’s angry, he’s brooding. And over time, he starts doing other odd things and even lashes out at her.

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