Renowned mathematician Dr CR Rao passes away at 102

Describing Dr Rao as remarkably unassuming and humble, Srinivas noted that he exhibited a genuine passion for engaging with young minds whenever he found the opportunity.
Dr. Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao
Dr. Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao

VISAKHAPATNAM: Renowned mathematician and statistician Dr. Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, better known as CR Rao breathed his last on Wednesday at the age of 102.

Born into a Telugu family at Hadagali in Karnataka’s Bellary on September 10, 1920, Dr Rao’s academic journey began at Gudur in Andhra Pradesh. He studied at Nuzvid, Nandigama, and earned a degree in mathematics from Andhra University in Visakhapatnam.

He went on to pursue his post-graduation in statistics from Calcutta University in 1943 and completed his Ph.D. at King’s College, Cambridge University in 1948. Dr Rao was honoured with a D.Sc degree from Cambridge University in 1965. He has 39 doctorates from 19 countries to his name, presented 477 research papers, and has written 15 books.

Besides the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, the mathematician was also honoured with the International Prize in Statistics, often referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize in Statistics’, in 2023. Dr Rao’s bond with Vizag and Andhra University remained strong.

Fondly recalling his association with the statistician, Andhra University, College of Science and Technology, (AUCST) principal Srinivas Rao said, “I first met Dr Rao in December 1981 when he graced the varsity’s Department of Statistics for unveiling the portrait of Professor Kandula Nagabhushanam—the founder of the department.”

“Back then, I was a second-year MSc student, designated to assist him during his stay in Visakhapatnam. This marked the genesis of our association. From 1981 to 1986, Dr. Rao frequented our department during his visits to India. His affection for his alma mater was abundantly evident,” he recounted. Describing Dr Rao as remarkably unassuming and humble, Srinivas noted that he exhibited a genuine passion for engaging with young minds whenever he found the opportunity.

Shedding light on the legacy that the mathematician has left behind, the principal said Dr Rao’s significant contributions include a Rs 1 lakh donation in 1982 to establish the CV Naidu Gold Medal, which is awarded to the top-ranking student in the M.Sc Statistics department every year. Between 2016 and 2018, Dr Rao donated Rs 12 lakh to establish two endowment lectures, including the Padma Vibushan Prof. CR Rao Endowment Lecture, at the University. As a testament to his deep-rooted ties, he contributed Rs 1 lakh to Mrs. AVN College, also his alma mater.

Notably, GVMC has named the road adjacent to the AU Statistics department as ‘CR Rao Marg’. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed grief over the passing away of Dr. CR Rao and condoled the bereaved family.

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