Professor C R Rao, 1920-2023

We are saddened to hear of the death of Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, a formidable name in modern statistics and one of the Society’s most longstanding fellows.

Professor Rao made pioneering contributions to statistical inference, multivariate analysis, design of experiments and combinatorics, robust inference and differential geometric methods and many other areas. Several of his results have become parts of standard textbooks on statistical methodology. 

Born in the town of Hadagali, India, in 1920, Prof Rao started work at the Indian Statistical Institute in 1941 and in 1945, published his first paper on what is now known as the Fisher–Rao metric, which introduced differential geometry into statistical inference. This led to opening up the burgeoning field now called information geometry, which has grown to become an important tool not only in statistics but also in artificial intelligence, data science, signal processing, physics and many other fields. 

After completing his PhD in 1948 under the supervision of Ronald Fisher, he published various papers on orthogonal array and multivariate analysis of variance and test of significance in multivariate analysis in the late forties. He authored a breakthrough book Linear Statistical Inference and its Applications in 1965.

During the seventies he was president of a number of mathematical Societies, including the Indian Econometric Society, the International Biometric Society, The Institute of Mathematical Statistics USA and the International Statistical Institute. In 2001 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, and in 2002 he was awarded the National Medal of Science, the USA’s highest science award. Earlier this year he was awarded the International Prize in Statistics.

Prof Rao was made an RSS honorary fellow in 1969, having won the Society's Guy Medal in Silver in 1965. In 2011, he was awarded the Society’s highest honour, the Guy Medal in Gold. Significance paid tribute to Prof Rao and his contribution to statistics for his 100th birthday in 2020.

A full obituary has been published in our Series A journal..
Load more