Tycho Brahe was a 16th century astronomer who cared about his data. He had a gold nose (though not in his potrait) and an epic mustache (shown in portrait). Tycho kept meticulous data records of planetary orbits. These records led to world changing discoveries.
Tycho was able to use his records to make break throughs on the nature of supernovae and comets, but his life's goal was to decipher an accurate model of our solar system (they thought the Sun and planets ordited around the Earth in Tycho's time).
Tycho unsuccessfully struggled to find the solar system model for most of his life. While Tycho was struggling with his problem, Johannes Kepler came to apprentice for Tycho. Kepler was eventually able to use Tycho's data to decode the model of our solar system.* Before meeting Tycho, Kepler unsuccessfully searched for the laws governing the solar system for many years. Only after getting access to Tycho's data, was he able to come up with his 3 laws of planetary motion. Kepler gets all the glory for the discovery, but it was Tycho's data that gave Kepler the context to construct the laws and the evidence to support his findings.
Unfortunately for Tycho, his solar system model was wrong, but his methods for gathering data and testing hypotheses against the empirical data were the most advanced the world had seen. The lesson we take from Tycho Brahe is that data is the key. Track your data and you can throw ideas at it in the future. You can create models and test them against the data. As the data continues to flow in you can continuously test and improve your models.
There is a whole lot more to Tycho's story. He was a facinating person in general; he was exciled from Denmark and his nose was chopped off in a sword duel. If you are interested, I highly recommend Tycho's Wikipedia page and the episode on him and Kepler from the original Cosmos series.
* Abbreviated for the sake of this short narative.