Being a Statistician

October 28, 2012

(This article was originally published at Honglang Wang's Blog, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

“The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone’s backyard.”—John Tukey

Being a statistician, work on a diverse range of problems, many of which come from real scientific issues: the challenge of analyzing experimental data or of constructing a stochastic model to explain the experimental puzzles. Along the way, get the chance to learn some science.

Advice for PhD students from Professor Samuel Kou:

Follow the heart, not the trend. I think only by doing what you love to do, by listening to your heart, can you proceed forward and enjoy the process and the fruits in the long run. I feel it is worth keeping in mind that what is hot right now might not be so hot five or ten years down the line.

A statistician is like a nineteenth-century mathematician: on one hand they were working on problems in mechanics, fluid dynamics, optics, astronomy, etc., and on the other hand, they were working on theories, structures and methods. In the modern world, statistics is one of the very few disciplines that still enjoys such interplay.—Samuel Kou

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