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Northwestern University

New endowed chair named for esteemed mathematician Madan Lal Puri

A recent gift to Northwestern will create a new endowed chair in the Department of Mathematics — the Madan Lal Puri Professorship.

The chair will be named for Madan Lal Puri, the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Indiana University.

Madan Lal PuriPuri is considered one of the world’s most versatile and prolific researchers in mathematical statistics. His research areas include nonparametric statistics, order statistics, limit theory under mixing, time series, splines, tests of normality, generalized inverses of matrices and related topics, stochastic processes, statistics of directional data, random sets, and fuzzy sets and fuzzy measures.

The new chair will enable Northwestern to continue to strengthen the College’s Department of Mathematics, which is consistently ranked among the top 25 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Renowned for their scholarship and teaching, faculty in the Department of Mathematics are working to solve pressing problems through their research while preparing students to lead and innovate in an array of fields and professions. 

The Madan Lal Puri Professorship will be the 18th chair matched through the Ryan Family Chair Challenge Fund, which was established by Northwestern University Trustee Patrick Ryan ’59, ’09 H (’97, ’00 P) and Shirley Welsh Ryan ’61 (’97, ’00 P) to inspire gifts from Northwestern benefactors who share their vision of investing in the University’s faculty.

About Madan Lal Puri

Professor Puri is one of the most versatile and prolific researchers in his field, and a prominent statistician of his generation. He has worked across virtually the whole spectrum of statistics, with excursions into probability and a number of other areas in mathematics, and he has been responsible for the creation of several subfields in statistics.

He has been honored by universities in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East as a visiting fellow, chair professor, visiting professor, guest professor and distinguished visitor. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the American Statistical Association. He is also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, the New York Academy of Sciences, and an honorary fellow of the International Indian Statistical Society.  In 1975, Punjab University in India awarded him a D.Sc. In 1974, he was honored by the German government “in recognition of past achievements in research and teaching.”

Puri is the recipient of some of the American Statistical Association’s most prestigious honors, including the Gottfried E. Noether Senior Scholar Award in 2008 and the Samuel S. Wilks Award in 2014.  He has twice received the Senior U.S. Scientist Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany (in 1974 and 1983) and has been a Distinguished Visitor at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1991.

Finally, in 2019, Professor Puri was awarded the Indiana University Bicentennial Medal, which was bestowed during Indiana University’s 200th anniversary celebration year in recognition of distinguished and distinctive service in support of the mission of Indiana University.   

Puri earned a B.A. degree in 1948 and a master’s degree in 1950 from Punjab University in India. He taught mathematics at several institutions in India before moving to the United States in 1957. He earned a PhD in 1962 at the University of California in Berkeley and served on the faculty of Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in New York before joining Indiana University as a full professor in 1968.

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