Giants in History: Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis

The father of statistics in India 

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (29 June 1893 - 28 June 1972)


Physicist and statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (29 June 1893– 28 June 1972), who founded the Indian Statistical Institute in 1931, is known for his pioneering application of statistics to practical problems. Among his discoveries is the statistical measure called the Mahalanobis distance, a metric to calculate how much a point diverges from a distribution, which serves as a valuable tool in fields ranging from economics to taxonomy. As a member of the first Planning Commission of India, Mahalanobis applied statistical models to facilitate the industrialisation of the newly-independent India, developed a statistical infrastructure for the country, and introduced the first digital computers to India. For his contributions, Mahalanobis is regarded as the father of statistics in India. 


Indian Statistical Institute
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