Google has today dedicated a doodle on its homepage to Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis. The doodle, illustrated by Nishant Choksi, remembers the Indian scientist and statistician on what would have been his 125th birthday.
Mahalanobis is well known for his theory, called ‘Mahalanobis distance’. This theory is used as a way of measurement in population studies. For his work in the science field and service to the country, Mahalanobis also received the Padma Vibhushan – highest civilian award – from the Government of India.
Mahalanobis was born in West Bengal on June 29, 1883. He did his early studies from the Brahmo Boys School in Calcutta, and finished his graduation in 1908. He then studied for Bachelor of Science in Physics at the Presidency College, where he was taught by eminent scientists like Jagadish Chandra Bose, and Prafulla Chandra Ray. After getting his degree, he sailed to England in 1913 to join the University of London.
He would return home to teach at the Presidency College, where he was also responsible for founding the Indian Statistical Institute. He would also lay the foundations of the Indian statistical system through the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the Central Statistical Organization (CSO).
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Mahalanobis also served as a secretary to Rabindranath Tagore, and was also a member of first-ever Planning Commission of India. He passed away on June 28, 1972, just a day after his 79th birthday.