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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Problem with average in practice.

    Prasanth Chandra Mahalanobis, a name connected with the subject Statistics must be known to most of the learned people. He was the man behind introducing this as a separate subject in our country. Himself a physicist, went to UK for higher studies in that subject. After finishing Master's in Physics returned to India with a few copies of a Statistical journal (Biometrika). Reading those copies of journals he developed interest in this subject and started with a small department for this in his own Physics lab of Calcutta University. This gradually developed, with international relations, and got established as Indian Statistical Institute, which is now one of the topmost institutes in the world.
    About Mahalanobis there are certain comments generally spread. When a student's hostel was started at ISI cots were made for each room. Naturally the size of the cots were to be decided. It is 'alleged' that, being a Statistician he took the average height of students and decided the length of cot ! One can imagine what would have been the result.
  • #607595
    Interesting to note about the average and its difficulties in practice. Yes there are some other areas too this average cannot be taken as a measure of deciding.

    For this I recall one of the budget our former FM Mr. Chidambaram calculated about house rent and other expenditure for common man got great criticism as that was not at all at par with the prevailing market rate then.

    Nice to be in ISC and feel the difference.

  • #607622
    "Statistician he took the average height of students and decided the length of cot !". What a nice humour and I am sure , may be fact also, knowing our adherence to theory and statistics.

    Recently I heard a doctor talking (vide a whatsapp video clip) about the many 'normal' parameters in medicine and health. He said that these 'normals' were just averages. Then he cited the example of tall Bollywod superstar and his short wife. They are normal people but applying certain 'normal' or average parameters will make them abnormal on data sheet.

  • #607623
    P.C. Mahalanobis and the ISI founded by him at Kantakal, Baranagar are well -known to almost all Bengalis. I know many interesting anecdotes about him because his younger brother's grandson was my classmate in school. But this anecdote is new to me. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Sankaran.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #607685
    Good. The problem of averages is very nicely mentioned. A ready made clothes company also can't make clothes by taking average length. they have to make of all sizes. Atleast if the cots can be made by taking maximum height of man. But in ready made clothes and foot wear it is not possible.
    Statistics is mainly useful in calculations and approximations but in real life it may not be very useful. A nice and well narrated thread.

    always confident

  • #607687
    For the first time I came across the details of Prasanth Chandra Mahalanobis, the man who was responsible to establish Indian Statistical Institute which is having its office in Habsiguda in Hyderabad. When ever I was going through this place, I wonder what activities would be done and who were the beneficiaries from the findings of this Institute. Through this post the author made me known all the details about ISI . The author can make this submission and add little mode information and even some images which are available about the Institute and create an article which would be great.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #607691
    @ K.Mohan, I am only happy to write an article on the life and contribution of Prof. P. C. Mahalanobis. I admire him as a person who has introduced Statistics as a subject in India. Seeing his ability and the use of Statistical knowledge in Planning, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appointed Mahalanobis as a member of Planning Board. The second and third Five year Plans are mainly his contributions.
    Gold Member ISC

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