Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, best remembered for the “Mahalanobis distance”, was a man of diverse scientific interests. Having a combined interest in disciplines like anthropology, economics, and physics, he made pioneering studies in anthropometry (the scientific study of the measurements and proportions of the human body) in India.
He was also instrumental in formulating India’s strategy for industrialization in the Second Five-Year Plan (1956–61). He founded the Institute of Statistics of India and contributed to the design of large-scale surveys. He further laid the foundations of Indian Statistical System through the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).
Mahalanobis held several national and international portfolios. He served as the chairman of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Sampling from 1947 to 1951 and was appointed as the Honorary Statistical Adviser to the Government of India in 1949. For his pioneering work, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, one of India’s highest honours, in 1968. He is also regarded as the "Father of Statistical Science in India".
To honour such a remarkable personality, India Post issued a commemorative stamp of Mahalanobis on 29th June 1993. Further India is all set to issue a new coin on "National Statistic Day" that is celebrated each year on P. Mahalonobi's birthday, 29th June.
Image Courtesy: Mintage World