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Prominent statistician CR Rao passes away

Mangalore Today News Network

New Delhi, Aug 23, 2023: Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, one of the eminent statisticians in India, passed away at the age of 102 on Wednesday. Rao’s work revolutionised fields of studies from business to medicine, anthropology to economics and he was awarded the 2023 International Prize in Statistics, the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the field.


C R Rao

Rao’s work spanned estimation theory, differential geometry, and multivariate analysis. In India, his influence is reflected in the operations of the Central Statistics Office, the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), and the CR Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (AIMSCS) in Hyderabad, which was set up in 2013.

In his career spanning seven decades, Rao trained about 51 doctorate students, among whom, many are luminaries in their own domains. Of them, the quartet of KR Parthasarathy, R Ranga Rao, VS Varadarajan, and SRS Varadhan, who won the prestigious Abel Prize in 2007 for his work on large deviations, remains the most well-known.

He held many key positions such as the Director of the Indian Statistical Institute, 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 Pennsylvania State University. He was also a professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and Research Professor at the University at Buffalo. Rao has received many honours. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1968 and Padma Vibhushan in 2001.

Rao exhibited exemplary skills in mathematics since the age of 6 and had penned down his autobiography Glimpses of India’s Statistical Heritage (1992, Wiley Eastern Limited), a collection of essays, edited by JK Ghosh, SK Mitra, and KR Parthasarathy.

The eighth of 10 children, Rao was born in September, 1920 to a Telugu family in Huvinna Hadagali, a town in Karnataka. He completed his schooling in Gudur, Nuzvid, Nandigama, and Visakhapatnam, all in Andhra Pradesh. He completed MSc in mathematics from Andhra University and MA in statistics from Calcutta University in 1943. He also received a Ph.D. degree at King’s College at Cambridge University. He further completed a DSc degree, also from Cambridge, in 1965.

Courtesy: Indian Express