Something for your weekend: The Joy of Data


A one hour documentary, presented by mathematician Dr Hannah Fry, exploring ‘Data’ – what it is, why it is valuable, and issues around collecting, storing and using it.



I first saw it on BBC iPlayer, but you can also access it on Youtube.


So what?

Like many other BBC science documentaries, this one offers a great introduction to the topic. It is simple, clear and engaging, using everyday examples to explain relatively complex concepts (e.g., using scrabble tiles to explain data vs information).


Topics covered in this hour long documentary include:

  • Uses of data to inform decisions (e.g., at around minute 6: when to inseminate cows) and discovery (e.g., at around minute 10: cholera)
  • Hurdles of data collection and processing (at around minute 15)
  • Issues of data transmission (at around minute 20)
  • Issues of meaning in data (at around minute 29)
  • Technological developments (e.g., from analogue to digital, at around minute 7; punch cards, at around minute 15; binary coding, at around minute 20; packet switching, at around minute 36; Internet of things, at around minute 42; cloud and machine learning, at around minute 45)


What caught your eye on the web, this week?

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