The 2023 International Prize in Statistics, often regarded as the Nobel prize in mathematics, has been awarded to Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, a distinguished Indian-American mathematician and statistician. His innovative work, conducted over 75 years ago, has had an extreme and lasting impact in the field of statistics and several scientific disciplines.
At the International Statistical Institute World Statistics Congress in Ottawa, Canada, Rao will receive the prestigious award accompanied by an $80,000 prize money at the age of 102, in the month of July. It has been awarded for Rao’s monumental contributions to statistical thinking which has not only impacted in that field but has also provided an understanding of science across a wide range of domains.
Rao’s significant 1945 paper which was published in the Bulletin of Calcutta Mathematical Society had introduced three fundamental results which was a base for modern statistics and also gave essential tools for scientific research at present. The first result was named as Cramer-Rao lower bound which helps in determining good possible ways for the estimation of a quantity. The second one was known as Rao-Blackwell Theorem which provides a means of transformation to determine an optimal one. The final result put up for the development of “information geometry”, a growing interdisciplinary area that enhances the extraction of information from data.
Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao was born to a Telugu family in Hadagali, Karnataka. He did his schooling in various cities in Andhra Pradesh and obtained his MSc in mathematics from Andhra University and an MA in statistics from Calcutta University in the year 1943. He also got his PhD from King’s College at Cambridge University followed by a DSc degree in the same institution in 1965. He has held various prominent positions throughout his career including the Director of the Indian Statistical Institute and various other distinguished professorships at universities in India and the United States. At present he’s working as a professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and also a research professor at the University at Buffalo. He has received several honours which includes the Padma Bhushan in 1968 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001 from the Indian government.
Recognizing his exceptional achievements and contributions in the field of statistics, this International Prize in Statistics has been awarded and he has also emphasized original and impactful ideas that have led to practical applications in many disciplines. Rao’s profound work spans over seven decades which has not only changed the field of statistics but also brought advancement in other scientific domains, making him a deserving recipient of the 2023 Nobel prize in Statistics.