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Nurse who went beyond the numbers

Florence Nightingale was a data scientist long before the world knew what a pie chart was.

Florence Nightingale was a whizz at data visualisation. Her most well-known graph, called a polar area or rose diagram, looks like a pie cut into 12 slices. PHOTO: NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY OF LONDON
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In the 1850s, long before Covid-19 and other highly infectious diseases such as smallpox, polio, typhoid and the flu showed how important an understanding of data is to minimising their spread, an English nurse was already using data to reform poor sanitary conditions in army hospitals.

Walking through hospital wards at night with a paper lantern as she tended to British soldiers wounded in the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale earned the title "Lady with the Lamp".

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