Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis


Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was born on June 29th, 1893 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India and is the Mathematician from India. Discover Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis's biography, age, height, physical stats, dating/affair, family, hobbies, education, career updates, and networth at the age of 78 years old.

Date of Birth
June 29, 1893
Place of Birth
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Death Date
Jun 28, 1972 (age 78)
Zodiac Sign
Economist, Mathematician, Physicist, Statistician
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

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Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis Religion, Education, and Hobbies
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University of Calcutta (B.Sc.), King's College, Cambridge (B.A.)
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis Spouse(s), Children, Affair, Parents, and Family
Nirmal Kumari Mahalanobis
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About Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis OBE, FNA, FASc, FRS (29 June 1893 – 28 June 1972) was an Indian scientist and statistician.

He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure, and for being one of the members of the first Planning Commission of free India.

He made pioneering studies in anthropometry in India.

He founded the Indian Statistical Institute, and contributed to the design of large-scale sample surveys.

For his contributions, Mahalanobis has been considered the father of modern statistics.

Early life

Mahalanobis belonged to a family of Bengali landed gentry who lived in Bikrampur (now in Bangladesh). His grandfather Gurucharan (1833–1916) moved to Calcutta in 1854 and built up a business, starting a chemist shop in 1860. Gurucharan was influenced by Debendranath Tagore (1817–1905), father of the Nobel Prize-winning poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Gurucharan was actively involved in social movements such as the Brahmo Samaj, acting as its treasurer and president. His house on 210 Cornwallis Street was the centre of the Brahmo Samaj. Gurucharan married a widow, an action against social traditions.

Gurucharan's elder son, Subodhchandra (1867–1953), became a distinguished educator after studying physiology at Edinburgh University. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[1] He was the Head of the Dept. of Physiology, University of Cardiff (the first Indian to occupy this post in a British university). In 1900, Subodhchandra returned to India, founding the Dept. of Physiology in the Presidency College, Calcutta. Subodh Chandra also became a member of the Senate of the University of Calcutta.

Gurucharan's younger son, Prabodh Chandra (1869–1942), was the father of P.  C.  Mahalanobis. Born in the house at 210 Cornwallis Street, Mahalanobis grew up in a socially active family surrounded by intellectuals and reformers.

Mahalanobis received his early schooling at the Brahmo Boys School in Calcutta, graduating in 1908. He joined the Presidency College, then affiliated with the University of Calcutta, where he was taught by teachers who included Jagadish Chandra Bose, and Prafulla Chandra Ray. Others attending were Meghnad Saha, a year junior, and Subhas Chandra Bose, two years his junior at college. Mahalanobis received a Bachelor of Science degree with honours in physics in 1912. He left for England in 1913 to join the University of London.

After missing a train, he stayed with a friend at King's College, Cambridge. He was impressed by King's College Chapel and his host's friend M. A. Candeth suggested that he could try joining there, which he did. He did well in his studies at King's, but also took an interest in cross-country walking and punting on the river. He interacted with the mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan during the latter's time at Cambridge. After his Tripos in physics, Mahalanobis worked with C. T. R. Wilson at the Cavendish Laboratory. He took a short break and went to India, where he was introduced to the Principal of Presidency College and was invited to take classes in physics.

After returning to England, Mahalanobis was introduced to the journal Biometrika. This interested him so much that he bought a complete set and took them to India. He discovered the utility of statistics to problems in meteorology and anthropology, beginning to work on problems on his journey back to India.

In Calcutta, Mahalanobis met Nirmalkumari (Rani), daughter of Heramba Chandra Maitra, a leading educationist and member of the Brahmo Samaj. They married on 27 February 1923, although her father did not completely approve of the union. He was concerned about Mahalanobis's opposition to various clauses in the membership of the student wing of the Brahmo Samaj, including prohibitions against members' drinking alcohol and smoking. Sir Nilratan Sircar, P. C. Mahalanobis' maternal uncle, took part in the wedding ceremony in place of the father of the bride.

Later life

In later life, Mahalanobis was a member of the planning commission contributed prominently to newly independent India's five-year plans starting from the second. In the second five-year plan he emphasized industrialization on the basis of a two-sector model. His variant of Wassily Leontief's Input-output model, the Mahalanobis model, was employed in the Second Five Year Plan, which worked towards the rapid industrialisation of India and with other colleagues at his institute, he played a key role in the development of a statistical infrastructure. He encouraged a project to assess deindustrialization in India and correct some previous census methodology errors and entrusted this project to Daniel Thorner.

In the 1950s, Mahalanobis played a critical role in the campaign to bring India its first digital computers.

Mahalanobis also had an abiding interest in cultural pursuits and served as secretary to Rabindranath Tagore (about whom he would write in the Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia), particularly during the latter's foreign travels, and also worked at his Visva-Bharati University, for some time. He received India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India for his contribution to science and services to the country.

Mahalanobis died on 28 June 1972, a day before his seventy-ninth birthday. Even at this age, he was still active doing research work and discharging his duties as the secretary and director of the Indian Statistical Institute and as the honorary statistical advisor to the Cabinet of the Government of India.