Google today remembered Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, an Indian scientist and applied statistician on his 125th birth anniversary by dedicating its today's doodle made by Nishant Choksi to him.
Mahalanobis was born on 29th June 1893 in West Bengal. He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure (a measure of comparison between two sets of data), and for being one of the members of the first Planning Commission of free India. He made pioneering studies in anthropometry in India and contributed to the design of large-scale sample surveys. He also founded the Indian Statistical Institute on 17th December 1931.
Born to an academically oriented family, Mahalanobis pursued his early education in Calcutta (now Kolkata). After graduating with honours in physics from Presidency College, Calcutta, in 1912, he moved to England to study physics and mathematics at the University of Cambridge. Just before Mahalanobis left the university in 1915, he was introduced to statistics by one of his tutors. When he returned to India, he accepted a temporary position teaching physics at Presidency College, and he became a professor of physics there in 1922. However, his interest in statistics had evolved into a serious academic pursuit, and he applied statistical methods to problems in anthropology, meteorology, and biology. (www.britannica.com)
P.C. Mahalanobis was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1968 and in the same year he received Srinivasa Ramanujan Gold Medal.
In fact, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation of the Government of India has also sponsored an International award in the name of P.C. Mahalanobis to be given biennially to recognize the lifetime contribution of selected statistician from the developing country known as 'The Mahalanobis International Award'.
The first award was presented in the ISI (International Statistical Institute) World Statistics Congress session of 2003 to Professor C.R. Rao (India).
The winners of ISI Mahalanobis awards are:-
Professor C.R. Rao (India) in 2003, Professor Benjamin Kiregyera (Uganda) in 2005, Dr. Isidoro P. David (Philippines) in 2007, Professor Pedro Morettin (Brazil) in 2009 and Professor Victor J. Yohai (Argentina) in 2011, Mr Lamine Diop (Senegal) in 2013, Dr. Carlos M. Jarque (Mexico) in 2015 and Professor Rahul Mukherjee (India) in 2017.
Mahalanobis died on 28th June 1972, just a day before his 79th birthday.