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Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis' 125th Birthday

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis' 125th Birthday

June 30th, 2018

Yesterday was noted statistician and scientist Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis' 125th anniversary and in honour of this occasion Google has dedicated its doodle by Nishant Choksi to him. Indian statistician who devised the Mahalanobis distance and was instrumental in formulating India’s strategy for industrialization in the Second Five-Year Plan (1956–61).

Born to an academically oriented family, Mahalanobis pursued his early education in Calcutta. 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. On December 17, 1931, he established the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta.

Mahalanobis devised a measure of comparison between two data sets that is now known as the Mahalanobis distance. He introduced innovative techniques for conducting large-scale sample surveys and calculated acreages and crop yields by using the method of random sampling. He devised a statistical method called fractile graphical analysis, which could be used to compare the socioeconomic conditions of different groups of people. He also applied statistics to economic planning for flood control.

He died on June 28, 1972, just a day ahead of his 79th birthday.