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World Book Day 2021 – Data Science Interns

To celebrate World Book Day we spoke to some of our Data Science Interns about their favourite reads. 

George, Rosalind, Stuart and Simon shared the stories they loved to read as a children and teenagers, and discussed the books that have had the biggest impact on their careers to date.  

George Breckenridge & Stuart Ross

Stuart and George have been working with us over the past six months to Analyse COVID-19 Mobility Responses through Passively Collected App Data. They shared some of their work in our recent blog analysing patterns of Christmas mobility in the UK


What was your favourite book as a child?

‘Who Was Isambard Kingdom Brunel’ (2006) by Amanda Mitchison – I think I read this when I was about 8, which is crazy looking back! A short biography of Brunel and his engineering feats which I think instigated a life-long fascination with our collective journey into the depths of underground civil engineering. 

What was your favourite book as a Teen?

‘Population 10 Billion’ (2013) by Danny Dorling – I’ve always loved Danny Dorling’s writing and this book on demography represented a cornerstone of my reluctantly-optimistic teenage outlook. Its insight that future global resource issues are mostly a product of imbalances in ‘consumption’ rather than global ‘overpopulation’ remains, in my personal view, underappreciated. 

Favourite data related book?

‘Urban Analytics’ (2017) by Alex Singleton, Seth Spielman & David Folc – This concise textbook served as my gateway into truly understanding the diversity and dynamism of urban analytics, perfectly pitched as an introductory text.

Book that has had the greatest impact on your career to date?

‘Imagined Londons’ (2002) by Pamela K. Gilbert (eds). – At a time when I needed it most, this book put theoretical rocket-boosters into my undergraduate dissertation on urban geography, which in turn contributed to my BA classification very helpfully! 


What was your favourite book as a child?

Where’s Waldo by Martin Handford

What was your favourite book as a teen?

This one would be The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Favourite data related book?

Python for Dummies by Stef Maruch – Great for learning the basics of Python and I still refer back to it from time to time to brush up before an interview. 

Book that has had the greatest impact on your career to date?

An Introduction to Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) Using QGIS and R by Colin D. MacLeod – This is the first book I actually followed all the way through and used as a tutorial to teach myself the basics of SDMs. 

Simon Leech

Simon is working with the CDRC team on a project with the Office for National Statistics (ONS), funded by Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) – The Local Data Spaces Pilot. He recently shared his experiences of hybrid working during the pandemic.

Simon, what was your favourite book as a child?

Any from the Horrid Henry Series by Francesca Simon – I remember reading so many of these as a child, and reading them over and over again!

What was your favourite book as a teen?

Gerrard: My Autobiography (Steven Gerrard) – I have to confess I did not read enough during my teenage years, but remember almost exclusively reading footballer’s autobiographies when I did pick up a book! As a Liverpool fan this is the only choice really!

Favourite data related book?

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (Dr Safiya Umoja Noble) – I attended the Open Data Institute 2020 Summit, and found the talk given on this subject very interesting and thought provoking, so I went ahead and bought the book to learn more about the current information ecosystem. 

Book that has had the greatest impact on your career to date?

Spatial Microsimulation with R by Robin Lovelace and Morgane Dumont – I followed this free book closely to produce a spatial microsimulation for assessing Vulnerability to Personal Carbon Allowances for my GIS Master’s Dissertation, something that pushed me to apply for this role as I enjoyed the work so much!

Rosalind Martin

Rosalind has been working with us for the last 6 months to explore Isolation and Inclusion in a Post-Social Distancing COVID World.

Rosalind, what was your favourite book as a child?

Anything by Michael Rosen.

What was your favourite book as a teen?

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.

Favourite data related book?

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea, by Donovan Hohn – Set within an entertaining true story, this book introduced me to using data and spatial mapping to understand real events.

Book that has had the greatest impact on your career to date?

How to Lie with Maps, by Mark Monmonier – As an aspiring geographer at the time of reading, Monomier was the first to teach me to develop a critical eye when looking at maps, and how to differentiate the good from the bad in a context where all maps must lie in one way or another.