Babu honored with Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research

October 18, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — G. Jogesh Babu, distinguished professor of statistics and astronomy and astrophysics, and director of the Center for Astrostatistics at Penn State, is the 2018 winner of the Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research.

Babu was selected by the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) Board of Trustees for “his vision and dedication in helping to build the astrostatistics community for more than two decades, his commitment to young researchers in the field, and his research contributions to the analysis of astronomical data."

Jogesh Babu headshot

Jogesh Babu

IMAGE: Penn State

Babu has diverse research interests in both statistics and probability, and in their applications to problems in astronomy and astrophysics. He has contributed extensively to probabilistic number theory, resampling methods including bootstrap methods, nonparametric methods, and asymptotic theory. Babu's work in astrostatistics includes multivariate methods for satellite data on Gamma-ray bursts, faint source detection in multi-epoch data, analysis of astronomical datacubes, quantitative comparison of source properties to compare data with astrophysical theories, and regression methods to calibrate steps in the cosmic distance ladder. Babu and an astronomer colleague coined the term “astrostatistics” in mid 1990s, when they published a book by the same name.

Babu was selected to receive the title of distinguished professor at Penn State in 2018. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS), the American Statistical Association (ASA), and the International Astrostatistics Association (IAA). He is also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU). He was a Twinning Fellow of the National Research Council from 1997 to 1999.

He has served as chair of the IMS Committee on Fellows from 2002 to 2003, and was a member of the IMS Committee on Fellows from 2001 to 2004. Babu has also been a research professor in the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005; chair of the Program Leaders Committee, SAMSI Astrostatistics Program in 2006, program chair of the Program on Statistical, Mathematical and Computational Methods for Astronomy (ASTRO) from 2016 to 2017. Babu received an Outstanding Contributions to Astrostatistics Award from IAA in 2017. He was elected president of IAA in January 2018 to serve for the three-year period from 2018 to 2020. Babu was appointed Chair of the Management Committee of the Astrostatistics Special Interest Group by the Executive committee of the International Statistical Institute in 2018 and was the guest-of-honor at the inauguration of the conference commemorating the 125th Birth Anniversary of Professor P.C. Mahalanobis, founder of Indian Statistical Institute, his alma mater on Jan. 2 of this year.

Babu earned a master’s and a doctoral degree in statistics at the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta in 1970 and 1974, respectively. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 1985, he was associate professor of statistics from 1976 to 1981 and professor of statistics from 1982 to 1985 at the Indian Statistical Institute.

The NISS Board of Trustees established the Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research in 2000 to honor Sacks' service as the founding director of NISS. The annual prize of $1,000, presented at the NISS JSM Reception, recognizes sustained, high-quality cross-disciplinary research involving the statistical sciences.

Last Updated October 18, 2018