Written by Samriddhi, a grade 7 student.
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was a brilliant Indian Statistician also the recipient of Padma Vibhushan (second highest civilian award).
What is the field of Statistics?
In simple words, Statistics is a branch of mathematics that involves gathering information, summarizing it, and deciding what it means. Statistics is used in every field, be it healthcare, manufacturing, production, urban planning, etc.
For instance, if you are an urban planner and are deciding how many buildings – homes, apartments, shops, etc – should be constructed in a particular area, you would need statistics to look at things like population growth, people behaviour, etc.
Back to Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis – a quick word on his early life
- He was born on 29 June 1893 Prasanta
- He belonged to a Bengali Family.
- He studied at the Brahmo Boys School in Calcutta
- After that, he went to the Presidency College in Kolkata graduating with honors in physics.
- Later he shifted to England to study physics and mathematics at King’s College.
His career and his contributions
In the 1950s, Mahalanobis played a critical role in a campaign to bring India its first digital computers.
The Mahalanobis distance – a measure of the distance named after him – that he applied to India’s social and economic problems is studied by students all over the world.
He founded the Indian Statistical Institute and contributed to the setting of the National Sample Survey and the Central Statistical Organization.
Mahalanobis was a teacher at the Presidency College in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and taught physics.
He applied his work in statistics to problems in several other fields, including anthropology (the study of humanity), meteorology (study of the atmosphere and weathering forecast), and biology (study of living organisms).
Some more information about him
- Mahalanobis appears in the movie The Man Who Knew Infinity made in 2015, which is about the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan (a famous Indian mathematician) He is portrayed by Shazad Latif.
- He was honored with a Google doodle on his 125th birthday on 29 June 2018.
- In 2006, The government of India decided to celebrate his birthday, 29 June, as “National Statistical Day”.
He passed away on 28th June 1972, a day before his seventy-ninth birthday.
Headline image credit
Parinitha Ravi, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons