“We study statistics with the main aim of solving problems in other disciplines.”
Today, #OnTheShouldersOf pays tribute to the legendary Indian-American mathematician and statistician Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao. Born in Bellary district, Karnataka, his contribution to statistics and mathematics is indelible. He was considered one of the pioneers of modern statistical theory and is known for his work in multivariate analysis, matrix algebra, and statistical inference.
The American Statistical Association described him as “a living legend whose work has influenced not just statistics, but has had far reaching implications for fields as varied as economics, genetics, anthropology, geology, national planning, demography, biometry, and medicine.”
Throughout his illustrious career, Rao held academic positions at various institutions, including the director of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI). During his tenure, he expanded the institute’s research and training programs. He also helped to establish the Asian Statistical Institute (ASI) in Tokyo. After he retired from ISI, he moved to the USA, where he taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Buffalo. He advocated for statistics education and has written several books and published several articles over the years. He was also associated with research organizations and advisory roles.
In 2001, Rao was awarded the National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor in the USA. The Indian Government honored him with a Padma Vibhushan in 2011 for his exceptional scientific contributions and influence on statistical theory. He fittingly received the International Prize in Statistics in 2023, the statistics equivalent of a Nobel prize.
We’re grateful for CR Rao’s contribution, which will continue to influence humanity for many more years.