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Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, Indian statistician (Calcutta 29 June 1893 – Calcutta 28 June 1972)

From a Bengali family  


Authored 271 articles and 5 books

Introduced the concepts of pilot surveys, optimum survey design, repetition and interpenetrating network of samples and sampling planes  

Described a variety of designs such as simple random sampling with or without replacement, stratified, systematic and cluster sampling (1944)

Proposed various techniques for assessment and control of errors

Laid down an axiom for the validity of cluster analysis called dimensional convergence of D(c.1924)

Obtained bivariate generalized Lorenz curves (1958)

Established statistically that the region of highest control for changes in weather conditions on the earth surface is located about 4 kilometers above sea level (rediscovered later by German researcher Franz Bauer)

Introduced a method for estimating crop yields

Developed methodologies for construction, performance and data analysis of different aspects of educational tests

Introduced a simple concept of capital-output ratio (1950)

Showed how pilot surveys could be profitably used to estimate the parameters of the variance and cost functions  


Developed Fractile Graphical Analysis, a computational tool for statistical data analysis (1969)


Weldon Medal, Oxford University (1944)

Honorary Fellow, Royal Statistical Society (Great Britain) 1954

Honorary President, International Statistical Institute (1957)

Honorary Fellow, King’s College, Cambridge (1959)

Doctor Honoris Causa, Sofia University (1961)

Gold Medal, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1963)


Mahalanobis distance (1930)

Mahalanobis density

Mahalanobis depth

Mahalanobis fractile graphs
Mahalanobis index

Mahalanobis kernel

Mahalanobis length

Mahalanobis matrix

Mahalanobis metric

Mahalanobis model (a variant of Leontief model in economics)

Feldman-Mahalanobis model

Mahalanobis moments

Mahalanobis transformation