Professor CR Rao 

#GS3 #Science&Techonology 

Padma Vibhushan Professor CR Rao was recently felicitated on the occasion of his 100th birthday. 

  • He is remembered for path-breaking contributions in the field of statistics, for recognising and facilitating the critical role of data and computing to handle scientific and social challenges, for mentoring inspiring and nurturing generations of students and researchers and for developing world-class statistical infrastructure in India. 

About CR Rao  

  • Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao was born in the small town of Huvina Hadagali (in 1920) in present-day Karnataka (in erstwhile Madras province). 
  • He was an exceptionally good student, and completed a BA (Hons.) degree in Mathematics from Andhra University with distinction and first rank. 
  • One of his friends took him to the nascent Indian Statistical Institute; the legendary Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis had established the institute 10 years earlier. The young C.R. Rao joined a training programme offered by the ISI. 
  • In 1943, Professor Rao completed his MA in Statistics from Calcutta University, again with a first rank. By the age of 22, he had already published seven technical papers in mathematical statistics. 
  • Mahalanobis recognised the potential of this young man, and C.R. Rao was deputed to Cambridge University in 1946 to assist in the analysis of some anthropological data. While he was at Cambridge, he registered for a doctoral degree under the guidance of the celebrated Professor Ronald A. Fisher. He returned to the ISI in 1948 after being awarded his Ph.D. and was appointed professor there the following year. 
  • The statistical test used extensively in econometrics, widely known as Lagrange multiplier test, was developed by Professor Rao in 1947. 
  • As India started building its institutional infrastructure after Independence, Professor Rao was instrumental in setting up our national statistical framework. During the 1960s, he served as Chairman of the Committee on Statistics of the Government of India. He also chaired the Committee on Mathematics of the Atomic Energy Commission and was a member of the Committee on Science and Technology. He was the moving force behind the International Statistical Educational Centre (ISEC) at the ISI, where students and government statisticians from developing countries could learn the techniques of statistics and the methods for establishing their national statistical bureaus. 


  • He has been the recipient of countless awards and accolades. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 2001.  
  • The then President of the United States, George W. Bush, conferred the National Medal of Science on him in 2002.  
  • He received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award from Prime Minister Nehru in 1963.  
  • The American Statistical Association awarded him the Samuel S Wilks Memorial Award in 1989.  
  • In 2011, he became the first non-European and non-American to receive the Guy Medal in Gold from the Royal Statistical Society of the United Kingdom.  
  • Professor Rao has been bestowed with 38 honorary doctoral degrees from universities located in 19 different countries. 
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