I should complete my assessment of "why R". In short, it is at heart a functional programming language. (Yes, Python has functional subsets. Julia and Scala are also FPLs. At least I believe Julia is.) But the overwhelming reason for me is the [ecosystem of R packages](https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/available_packages_by_name.html) which now number over 16,000, covering basic and dark corners of statistics and numerical work. Understanding them is an education in itself. For example, I did not know there was a body of non-linear numerical optimization work, pretty classically posed, which relies upon evolutionary computation to do the optimizing. See package [*nloptr*](https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/nloptr/vignettes/nloptr.pdf).