This chapter traces the evolution of statistical graphics starting with its departure from the common noun structure of Cartesian determinism, through William Playfair's revolutionary grammatical shift to graphs as proper nouns, and alights on the modern conception of graph as an active participant in the scientific process of discovery. The ubiquitous availability of data, software, and cheap, high-powered, computing when coupled with the broad acceptance of the ideas in Tukey's 1977 treatise on exploratory data analysis has yielded a fundamental change in the way that the role of statistical graphics is thought of within science—as a dynamic partner and guide to the future rather than as a static monument to the discoveries of the past. We commemorate and illustrate this development while pointing readers to the new tools available and providing some indications of their potential.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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