CR Rao wins top international prize for vital statistics theory

Apr 09, 2023 10:38 AM IST

CR Rao has been awarded the 2023 International Prize in Statistics, often referred to as the Nobel prize of statistics

Noted Indian-American statistician Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao has been awarded the 2023 International Prize in Statistics, often referred to as the Nobel prize of statistics, earlier this week.

Noted Indian-American statistician Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao. (File Photo)
Noted Indian-American statistician Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao. (File Photo)

“We are delighted to announce that the 2023 International Prize in Statistics has been awarded to C.R. Rao whose work more than 75 years ago continues to exert a profound influence on science,” the International Prize in Statistics tweeted on April 3.

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The prize is awarded biennially by a collaboration among five leading international statistics organizations and recognizes any major achievement by a person or any team.

Rao will receive the prize, which comes with an $80,000 award, in July at the biennial International Statistical Institute World Statistics Congress at Ottawa in Canada.

Rao, in his research paper published in the Bulletin of the Calcutta Mathematical Society in 1945, had demonstrated three fundamental results that paved the way for the modern field of statistics and provided statistical tools heavily used in science today.

“Legendary C.R Rao now 102 has been awarded statistics’ Nobel. Till 1979 he continued the Mahalanobis legacy at Indian Statistical Institute. His ground-breaking 1945 paper was in “Bulletin of Calcutta Mathematical Society, also where Nobel Laureate, CV Raman discovered Raman Effect,” tweeted Jairam Ramesh, Congress MP.

Born in Karnataka in 1920, Rao, an Eberly professor Emeritus in the statistics department at Pennsylvania State University, is one of the architects of Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, with whom he has been associated since 1941. He has PhD and ScD degrees from Cambridge University.

“Immediately after getting the MA degree, Rao joined ISI founded by PC Mahalanobis. He joined the ISI’s training section on January 1, 1941 for training in statistics. After the demise of Mahalanobis, Rao worked as secretary and director of ISI from July 1972 to June 1976. He was head and later director of the research and training school at ISI for a period of over 40 years,” states the ISI’s website.

Apart from being conferred with the Padma Bhusan in 1968 and Padma Vibhushan in 2001, Rao received the SS Bhatnagar prize in 1963 and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1967. He also received the Wilks Medal of the American Statistical Association in 1979 and US National Medal of Science in 2002.

Rao has held positions as Jawaharlal Nehru professor and national professor in India, university professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Eberly professor and chair of statistics and director of the Center for Multivariate Analysis at the Pennsylvania State University.

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