C. R. Rao

Not to be confused with C. N. R. Rao.
C. R. Rao

Prof. Rao at Indian Statistical Institute, Chennai in April 2012
Born (1920-09-10) 10 September 1920
Hadagali, Kingdom of Mysore,
British India
Residence India, United Kingdom, United States
Citizenship United States[1]
Fields Mathematics and statistics
Institutions Indian Statistical Institute
Cambridge University
Penn State University
University at Buffalo
Alma mater Andhra University
University of Calcutta
King's College, Cambridge
Thesis Statistical Problems of Biological Classifications (1948)
Doctoral advisor Ronald Fisher
Doctoral students
Known for Cramér–Rao bound
Rao–Blackwell theorem
Orthogonal arrays
Score test
Notable awards Padma Vibhushan
National Medal of Science (2001)
S. S. Bhatnagar Prize
Guy Medal (Silver 1965, Gold 2011)

Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, FRS known as C R Rao (born 10 September 1920) is an Indian-born, naturalized American, mathematician and statistician. He is currently professor emeritus at Penn State University and Research Professor at the University at Buffalo. Rao has been honoured by numerous colloquia, honorary degrees, and festschrifts and was awarded the US National Medal of Science in 2002.[2] The American Statistical Association has described him as "a living legend whose work has influenced not just statistics, but has had far reaching implications for fields as varied as economics, genetics, anthropology, geology, national planning, demography, biometry, and medicine."[2] The Times of India listed Rao as one of the top 10 Indian scientists of all time.[3] Rao is also a Senior Policy and Statistics advisor for the Indian Heart Association non-profit focused on raising South Asian cardiovascular disease awareness.[4]

Early life

C. R. Rao was born into a Kannada speaking Telugu family in Hadagali, Bellary, Karnataka, India. He received an M.Sc. in mathematics from Andhra University and an M.A. in statistics from Calcutta University in 1943.[2] He was among the first few people in the world to hold a master's degree in Statistics.

Academic career

Rao worked at the Indian Statistical Institute and the Anthropological Museum in Cambridge before acquiring a Ph.D. degree at King's College in Cambridge University under R. A. Fisher in 1948, to which he added a Sc.D. degree, also from Cambridge, in 1965.

He held several important positions, as the Director of the Indian Statistical Institute, Jawaharlal Nehru Professor and National Professor in India, University Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Eberly Professor and Chair of Statistics and Director of the Center for Multivariate Analysis at the Pennsylvania State University. As Head and later Director of the Research and Training School at the Indian Statistical Institute for a period of over 40 years, Rao developed research and training programs and produced several leaders in the field of Mathematics. On the basis of Rao's recommendation, the ASI (The Asian Statistical Institute) now known as Statistical Institute for Asia and Pacific was established in Tokyo to provide training to statisticians working in government and industrial organizations.[5]

Among his best-known discoveries are the Cramér–Rao bound and the Rao–Blackwell theorem[6] both related to the quality of estimators. Other areas he worked in include multivariate analysis, estimation theory, and differential geometry. His other contributions include the Fisher–Rao Theorem, Rao distance, and orthogonal arrays. He is the author of 14 books and has published over 400 journal publications.

Rao has received 38 honorary doctoral degrees from universities in 19 countries around the world and numerous awards and medals for his contributions to statistics and science. He is a member of eight National Academies in India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy. Rao was awarded the United States National Medal of Science, that nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research, in June 2002. The latest addition to his collection of awards is the India Science Award for 2010, the highest honour conferred by the government of India in scientific domain. He has most recently been honoured with his 38th honorary doctorate by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, on 26 July 2014 for "his contributions to the foundations of modern statistics through the introduction of concepts such as Cramér–Rao inequality, Rao–Blackwellization, Rao distance, Rao measure, and for introducing the idea of orthogonal arrays for the industry to design high-quality products." (Rao's 37th honorary doctorate was given to him by the State University of New York at Buffalo at its 167th commencement in May 2013.)

He has been the President of the International Statistical Institute, Institute of Mathematical Statistics (USA), and the International Biometric Society. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of India's National Institution for Quality and Reliability (Chennai Branch) for his contribution to industrial statistics and the promotion of quality control programs in industries.

The Journal of Quantitative Economics published a special issue in Rao's honour in 1991. "Dr Rao is a very distinguished scientist and a highly eminent statistician of our time. His contributions to statistical theory and applications are well known, and many of his results, which bear his name, are included in the curriculum of courses in statistics at bachelor's and master's level all over the world. He is an inspiring teacher and has guided the research work of numerous students in all areas of statistics. His early work had greatly influenced the course of statistical research during the last four decades. One of the purposes of this special issue is to recognize Dr Rao's own contributions to econometrics and acknowledge his major role in the development of econometric research in India."

Areas of research contributions

Awards and medals

In his honor

Selected publications


  1. "The Numberdars". The Times of India. 1 October 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 "Statisticians in History: Calyampudi R. Rao". American Statistical Association.
  3. "C.R.Rao in News". C.R.Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.
  4. "Indian Heart Association". Indian Heart Association Webpage. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  5. "Profile". C.R.Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.
  6. "Telugu professors do homeland proud". The Times of India. 3 July 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  7. "Indian American C.R. Rao receives the RSS Guy Medal Award". Silicon India. 2 August 2011.
  8. "C.R. Rao Receives the India Science Award". Eberly College of Science, Penn State University. 19 October 2010.
  9. "The previous winners of the Award are Professor C.R. Rao (India) in 2003..." http://www.isi-web.org/component/content/article/43-about/about/588-2013-mahalanobis-international-award-in-statistics-announcement
  10. 1 2 "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  11. "Recipients of Honorary Degrees". University of Calcutta.
  12. "Road to be named after Prof. C.R. Rao". The Hindu. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2012.

Further reading


External links

For the Cramér–Rao inequality and the Rao–Blackwell theorem see the relevant entries on

For Rao contribution to information geometry

Photograph of Rao with Harald Cramér in 1978

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