Introducing Offhand Remarks

Hello, and welcome to Offhand Remarks! I'm Nick Hand. Let me start off by apologizing for the terrible pun in the title of this blog. I'm a recent astrophysics Ph.D. grad from Berkeley who is currently living in Philadelphia looking for data science jobs. My Ph.D. focused on improving the tools that astronomers use to analyze data sets that map the three-dimensional Universe on its largest scales (this video is a great visualization of one of these data sets). My studies offered me a chance to use Python and open-source software every day and helped teach me the power of data and statistics for offering insights into complex questions. As a cosmology Ph.D., I was essentially a data scientist tasked with extracting insight from the Universe itself. I am the lead developer of one open-source, cosmology Python toolkit and have contributed to several other open-source Python projects.

I'm passionate about open science and open-source software, and am excited about using data science and machine learning to help improve people's daily lives. I'm particularly interested in healthcare-related data science projects — both my wife and brother are Emergency Medicine doctors in Philadelphia. Now that my Ph.D. is over, I've finally found some time to start this blog as an outlet for interesting projects and ideas. Most of the content posted here will be Python-related in one way or another. It'll include things I worked on (or, more likely, struggled through) during my Ph.D. studies that I think others might benefit from, as well as any other side projects I get up to in my free time. I'm also a big believer in reproducible data analysis, and I'll try to reproduce here any interesting analyses that I happen to stumble upon.

This is my first foray into blogging, and I've largely followed the example of Jake Vanderplas (a fellow astronomer!) and his excellent blog, Pythonic Perambulations. I've borrowed a lot of the framework from his blog to get Offhand Remarks up and running. Thanks to him and Daniel Rodriguez for their work on using Jupyter notebooks with Pelican and for their Pelican theme, which serves as the basis for the theme of this blog. Their hard work is very much appreciated!

Welcome, and thanks for reading!