This course examines the efficient communication
of complex quantitative ideas in many formats: data maps, time-series, space-time
narrative designs, charts and graphs. Students will learn what properties make a graphic
display coherent and compelling and what practices introduce distortions and confusion and
should be avoided. Theories will be illustrated by historical examples such as Florence
Nightingale's statistical diagrams, Snow's data maps of the cholera epidemics in
nineteenth-century London, and the charts used by engineers and project managers in their
decision to launch the Challenger spacecraft. As part of this course each student will
complete a project involving the analysis and effective display of information from
Trinity's City Data Center. Readings will include Tufte's Visual Display of Quantitative
Information, and selections from the Visual Revelations column of the journal Chance.
Computer software used: EXCEL and PowerPoint.