New Delhi, Sep 10 (PTI) Eminent statistician and mathematician C R Rao, known for his path-breaking contributions to the field of statistics, turned 100 on Thursday.
The Department of Science and Technology felicitated him on Wednesday and the event was virtually attended by top scientists, mathematicians and statisticians.
Describing him as an institution builder, DST Secretary Ashutosh Sharma said Rao trained generations of scientists, mathematicians and statisticians. 'While there are different verticals (fields) in science, statistics is a horizontal that cuts through all these lines,' he said.
Sharma said data is the 'new water' and the future is going to revolve around it. Industry 4.0 and beyond is all about creating data, analysing data, building on data and making great discoveries with it, he said.
'Professor C R Rao was working on the science of data 70 years ago and was much ahead of his times. He is not only a scientist but also an institution builder. The country and the world will always be indebted to Professor Rao for his pioneering contributions to the field of statistics,' Sharma said.
Born on September 10, 1920 in Huvinahadagali, Karnataka, Rao received his MA degree in mathematics from the Andhra University and another in statistics from the Calcutta University.
He worked at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) for 40 years. Later, he moved to the US and worked for 25 years at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania State University.
Rao is known for concepts like 'Cramer Rao inequality', 'Rao Blackwellisation' and 'Rao metric'.
He has authored around 475 research papers, which have been published in prestigious journals, and 11 books.
He was instrumental in establishing the C R Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (AIMSCS) in Hyderabad.
Rajeeva Karandikar, Director of the Chennai Mathematical Institute, said Rao was also instrumental in research and training programmes at the ISI.
For his contribution, he was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan.
Principal Scientific Adviser K VijayRaghavan said Rao's work has immensely benefitted the country.
'Some of Professor CR Rao's work has had a deep impact on genetics and that has great influence on the work we do now,' he said. Bimal Roy, Chairman, National Statistical Commission, recalled that Rao's understanding of statistics as a subject was not limited to that field alone, but he looked at it to find solutions in other disciplines as well.
Pravin Srivastava, who retired as the Chief Statistician of India and Secretary in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, said Rao tried to bring logical reasoning to areas of uncertainty like quantum physics. He laid the foundation of big data, Srivastava added.
Recalling his interaction with Rao in early 2000, Shekhar Mande, Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said when the legendary statistician came to Hyderabad, the scientific community in the city organised a number of conferences.
'The scientific community in Hyderabad was pretty excited. He sat through all the conferences, including one in which I presented a paper, taking keen interest in them,' Mande said. PTI PR RC