In Memoriam: P.K. Bhattacharya

P.K. BhattacharyaProdyot K. Bhattacharya, professor emeritus of statistics at UC Davis, died on March 9 in Davis. He was 87.

Known as P.K., Bhattacharya was one of the founding members of the UC Davis College of Letters and Science’s Department of Statistics, appointed in 1981. He was a leading researcher in nonparametric statistics, stochastic processes, sequential statistics and change-point problems, and invented state-of-the-art mathematical and stochastic tools for studying statistical procedures. He also participated in a variety of collaborations across disciplines, making meaningful contributions to quantitative problems in mathematical biology, economics, social processes, physics and cosmology.

Bhattacharya was born on September 30, 1930, in Calcutta, India, and earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at Calcutta University. After obtaining his doctoral degree in 1960, he worked as a research associate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Stanford University. He also taught at the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta. He was a professor at the University of Arizona from 1965 to 1980, and a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became professor emeritus at UC Davis in 1994. A volume of research papers honoring his work was published in 2011.

He is survived by his wife, Srilekha Bhattacharya; two daughters, Aparna Anderson and Suparna Jain; and four grandchildren. Messages of sympathy and memories of Bhattacharya may be sent to: Professor Thomas Lee, Department of Statistics, 1 Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

— Becky Oskin, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science