Assets of Science: Statistics

Prof. Manish Kr. Sharma,
Dr. Sunali Mahajan
National Statistics Day is a day celebrated in India to create awareness among the youth about the importance of Statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation to honour the scientist and statistician Prof. P. C. Mahalanobis on his birthday. He has great contribution in the fields of economic, planning and statistical development in the post independent era. The Government of India has decided to designate 29th June every year, coinciding with his birth anniversary, as Statistics Day in the category of special day to be celebrated at the national level. This was published in the Gazette of India on June 05, 2007.

National Statistics Day

Prof. Mahalanobis is fondly remembered as the Father of Statistical System in the country. He had set up Indian Statistical Institute at Kolkata in 1931 for research and training in Statistics. Central Statistical Organization (CSO) and National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), the pillars of official statistics, were conceived and envisioned by him. Celebration of Statistics Day in his memory is a source of inspiration for statisticians of the present day.The inspirational and eye-opening quotes by the greatProf. P C Mahalanobis “Statistics must have a clearly defined purpose, one of which is scientific advancement and the other human welfare and national development”. Prof Kant mathematician quoted “A Science is exact only in so far as it employs Mathematics”. It is rightly said, both Mathematics and Statistics are the gate and key of all the sciences.
As a subject, Mathematics has maintained prominence in the American education system whereas Statistics has its tremendous relevance in the daily life as it is marketable subjectnow.Applied Mathematics and Statistics are applicable everywhere but it doesn’t resemble with the subject content that one has studied in the school days.Both subject seems to beinvisible in the world around us but on ground reality, both are present and applicable in all our day-to-day life whether it’s our workplace, homes, buying a car, obtaining a cash memo, set a layout of home etc. you are basically applying math principles by one way or another.In the present techno-era, there is more inclination on subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Medicine and Engineering. As a matter of fact, all these sciences progress only with the aid and support of Statistics because of being an efficient and necessary tool for implementing. Therefore, it is aptly remarked that if “Mathematics is a Science of all Sciences and art of all arts”then three S’s in Statistics conveys “Statistics Summarizes Sciences”.
For those who understand the importance of statistics for them data is like God. Generally, the people have the notions that subjects like Statistics and Computing are of no use in real life. But hold on; take a minute and think about all the areas where you use data and you don’t even realize its existence. On face book, friend request suggestions, the Google maps that you rely on, the suggested products for you on all the online shopping sites; are all the result of data and analytics. Now, thinking about the innumerable uses of the subject, it would be easier for you to estimate the growing demand in the coming future. The CEO of Google Inc., Sundar Pichai, during a recent Q&A, acknowledged that students from Department of applied Mathematics are an asset at Google.
The basic issue is that, how and where we should teach statistics when there are so many other subjects competing for student time. The approach to this answer is somewhat historical-looking at the past, observing the present, and looking to the future to sustain and grow our subject. A half-century ago, the answer to this question was simple. Statistics was viewed as a branch of Mathematics like algebra or geometry, so Statistics was taught within Mathematics. In this view, we teach Statistics within the time frame that is allocated to Mathematics.
In the modeling process, the basic idea is that one goes from the “real world” into the “world of Mathematics,” works with in the model of mathematical world, and then goes back out to check with reality. How does applied Mathematics differ from teaching Statistics within Mathematics? In teaching a statistical idea within mathematics, the motivation for the idea might come from a mathematical idea that we wish to reinforce. For instance, we might introduce the idea of mean absolute deviation just after or just before we teach absolute value, and examine the idea for its theoretical properties without much concern for the application. The following shows a number of traditional Mathematics and Statistics topics that go together and either presented them side by side or one after the other.
Statistics can be viewed as similar to writing in spanning the curriculum. Writing has its home in language arts. Therefore, we can say that Statistics also have a home in Mathematics. And just as the style of writing varies depending on the discipline in which it is being used, so does Statistics do. This is not new, two decades before the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in the United States was titled as “Data Analysis and Statistics across the Curriculum”. Clearly its intention was that the many subjects taught in School, Colleges and even in Higher Education cannot commence with these and their negligence will harm the knowledge.
In a nutshell, Statistics and Computing providing many career opportunities and challenges both in traditional fields and in new exciting areas. Statistics graduates have an immense scope of becoming analysts, subject matter expert, expert in Actuarial and health sciences, corporate sector and even in government sector. There is no end to this list. A more intricate study reveal that the Statistics graduates are employed in many different areas because some jobs require specific logical skills while others, although not directly involving these skills but require the ability to think precisely and reason logically which can be gained only from statistical studies.
The events like National Statistics Day and World Statistics Day (October,20) will definitely raise public awareness especially among the younger generation about the role of Statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation.
(The authors are HOD- & research scholar working in Division of Statistics and Computer Science, SKUAST-J)