R is an incredibly useful programming language that I often use in my research. For example, I use have used R to analyse XRF spectra, to study feather colours, and to look at the possibility of red-feathered dinosaurs.
If you are interested in learning to use R then check out my Introduction to R slides, which can be accessed from Slideshare. These slides provide a basic intro, including a few statistical tests for you to work with. In a future set of slides I will include the code for my spectral analyses.