• PhD gender gaps around the world

    September 18, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    How Nations Fare in PhDs by Sex

    Periscopic, for Scientific American, visualized the number of PhDs awarded in various countries. You might expect men to be in high percentages and women to be in low, but it's not always in that direction.

    In the U.S., women are going to college and majoring in science and engineering fields in increasing numbers, yet here and around the world they remain underrepresented in the workforce. Comparative figures are hard to come by, but a disparity shows up in the number of Ph.D.s awarded to women and men. The chart here, assembled from data collected by the National Science Foundation, traces the gender gap at the doctoral level for 56 nations. The situation in individual countries varies widely, but as the numbers make clear, there are interesting exceptions to the global trend.

    Each view shows a vertical dotted line to indicate where PhDs awarded are an even split between men and women. To the left of that dotted line shows where men earn more PhDs than women, and on the right, where women earn more than men.

  • 01-start-finish

    A Survival Guide to Starting and Finishing a PhD

    Tips on making it through, what I would tell my previous self going in, and advice on taking advantage of the unique opportunity that is graduate school.
  • Starting a New Stack

    February 21, 2013  |  Personal

    There's a corner of my desk reserved for books, notes, papers, and other things I am supposed to read or have written and need to rewrite. Each project I work on gets its own stack. But there is limited space on my desk, and if I have too many stacks going at once, everything starts to jumble into one big pile. So I try not to work on too many things in parallel.

    There are typically two stacks at any given time: one for books or random projects and the other for my dissertation. The former changes often and was recently cleared on the completion of the Data Points manuscript, and the latter has been persistent for several years.

    But I'm happy to finally say that now there are zero stacks.

    I'm finally done. I'm officially Dr. Nathan Yau, Ph.D. (but you can still call me Nathan).

    It feels weird to say that — like how I imagine lottery winners feel, suddenly being able to say they're millionaires. It's surreal at first, but once it sinks in, the sun shines brighter, food tastes better, and the feeling of possibilities rushes through your veins.

    I've been asked if I would do it again knowing what I know now. After all, it took me over seven years to finish. To be honest, there were many times I wanted to quit, but now that I'm done, I can say that I would do it all again. I wouldn't do it just for the degree though. Rather I would do it for what came from going through the process: this blog, two books, countless learning experiences in school and through it, and a perspective on work that I wouldn't have gotten from anything else.

    Most importantly, I found what I like to do. It's awesome.

    So now it's time for a new stack. I'm excited about what it might be.

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