BLS Prakasa Rao received BA (Hons) in 1960 (with Gold Medal and a special Certificate of Merit) from Andhra University, MStat (1962) from Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata and PhD (1966) from Michigan State University. He worked at the University of California, Berkeley (1966-67), University of Illinois (1967-68). He joined IIT Kanpur in 1968, and worked there in several capacities till 1976. He moved to the ISI, New Delhi as Professor in 1976, retiring in 2004. He was Research Attache, University of Montreal (1973-75), Visiting Professor, University of Wisconsin (1979-80), University of California, Davis(1986-88), University of Iowa (1999-2000), Distinguished Scientist and Director (1992-95), ISI, Kolkata; Jawaharlal Nehru Chair Professor (1992), Visiting Professor (UPE) (2004-06) and Jawaharlal Nehru Chair Professor (2006-08); Dr Homi J Bhabha Chair Professor (2008-12), University of Hyderabad, Ramanujan Chair Professor (2012-), CR Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Emeritus Professor (2012-), Indian Statistical Institute.
Academic and Research Achievements: Prakasa Rao studied the asymptotic distribution of the maximum likelihood estimator in non-regular cases such as estimation of the location of the cusp for families of densities which include double exponential; developed cube root asymptotics underlying the basic distribution theory for the study of the maximum likelihood estimator of a unimodal density under restrictions on the shape of the density; contributed extensively to the parametric and nonparametric inference for stochastic processes and characterization problems and limit theorems in probability. He also published over 230 papers in national and international journals, authored, coauthored and edited thirteen books dealing with 'parametric and nonparametrc inference for stochastic processes', and guided two PhD students.
Other Contributions: Professor Prakasa Rao has been Editor-in-Chief/Editorial-Board-Member of many international and national journals, notably Statistical Inference for Stochastic Processes, Statistics and Decisions, Statistics and Probability Letters, Electronic Journal for History of Probability and Statistics, Sankhya, Indian Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, and INSA publications (1991-93). He is an elected Member of the International Statistical Institute (1982).
Awards and Honours: Prakasa Rao was awarded the SS Bhatnagar prize for Mathematical Sciences (1982), Outstanding Alumni Award by Michigan State University (1996); Distinguished Service Award by Mathematical Association of India (1999), Best Paper Award by Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics (2000), Lifetime Achievement Award by Indian Society of Reliability and Statistics (2015). He was President, Statistics Section (83rd Session), Indian Science Congress. Prakasa Rao received the National Award in memory of Professor P.V. Sukhatme for outstanding and meritorious research work in Statistics (2008). He was elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, USA (1983), Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1992), National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1993) and Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences (2012) .