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JK Ghosh Lecture

By Greg McClure (via Insights)

The Department of Statistics has established a lecture series in honor of Professor Emeritus Jayanta K. Ghosh, an amazing researcher who was one of the major influences in several areas of theoretical statistics. Ghosh died Sept. 30, 2017.

The lecture series was made possible by gifts from the Ghosh family, Jim Berger, a professor of statistics at Purdue from 1974 to 1996, and his wife, Ann (BA ’74, MA ’94 Education).

“We hope that the series will provide enduring recognition of an outstanding scientist,” says Jim Berger, who knew Ghosh for 40 years and worked with him for several years at Purdue. “Future generations of students and faculty at Purdue will learn of Ghosh and his legacy each time the lecture is given.”

Ghosh held prominent positions in the United States and India, including his terms as director of the Indian Statistical Institute and president of the International Statistical Institute. The impact of his more than six decades of work reached far beyond those two countries, says Anirban DasGupta, Purdue professor of statistics.

“He played a timely and insightful role across a wide swath of theoretical statistics, and his research impacted applications in a variety of fields including bioinformatics, geological mapping, microarray hypotheses testing and river sediment modeling,” says DasGupta, a student and colleague of Ghosh. “He co-wrote a widely cited paper that is regarded as a masterpiece in controlling the error in the central limit theorem.”

Ghosh came to Purdue in 1989 as a visiting professor and became a full professor in 1997. He was a prolific researcher who published more than 150 papers and four books. He also supervised more than 40 PhD students.

“He was not only an incredibly influential statistician, he was the kindest and most helpful person Ann and I have ever met,” Berger says.

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