of Statistics, Astronomy & Astrophysics
Director, Center for Astrostatistics
Email: babu at psu dot edu
Department of Statistics
417C Thomas Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802-2111
1997 CDT | Intercom 1998, 2001 | Master of Applied Statistics 2001, 2003
Span (Celestial Collaborators, pp. 56-60) 2005 | Outreach Magazine, Spring 2007 | Collegian 2008
PROSE Award | YahooNews November 21, 2014 | 2018 Jerome Sacks Award [Penn State Article, NISS News] | Science Journal Winter 2020 [pdf]
Jogesh Babu has diverse research interests in both statistics and probability, and in their applications to problems in genetics, astronomy and astrophysics. He has contributed extensively to probabilistic number theory (Erdös Number 1), resampling 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.
Jogesh Babu has led a year-long program 2016-17 Program on Statistical, Mathematical and Computational Methods for Astronomy (ASTRO) at Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI). See the SAMSI Press release dated February 24, 2016 on the research directions including exoplanets, Gravitational Waves & LIGO. The first semester-long program on Astrostatistics at SAMSI was also led by Babu in 2006.
The National Virtual Observatory (NVO) initiative has emerged early this century, to federate numerous large digital sky archives and develop tools to explore and understand these vast volumes of data. The National Science Foundation awarded a three-year research grant of over a million dollars to G. J. Babu in 2001 to lead an interdisciplinary team from Penn State, California Institute of Technology, and Carnegie Mellon University, to address some of the critically important statistical challenges raised by the NVO. Under this project, Babu led the development of VOStat, a web based service providing a suite of tools allowing astronomers to use both simple and sophisticated statistical routines on large datasets.
To enhance the dialog between astronomers and statisticians on important research issues Drs. Babu and Feigelson organized international conferences on `Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy' at Penn State in August 1991, June 1996, July 2001, June 2006, June 2011. Babu organized summer schools in statistics for astronomers in June 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 at Penn State. The tenth anniversary of the summer schools is celebrated in June 2014 with addtional sessions on Statistical Modeling of Cosmic Populations, and Bayesian Computing for Astronomical Data Analysis. The 2007 Summer school in statistics for astronomers received the 2007 University Continuing Education Association (Mid-Atlantic Region) award for exemplary non-credit program development. He has also organized summer schools in statistics for astronomers in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in July 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013 at Vainu Bappu Observatory located near the village of Kavalur in India. Astrostistics schools were also organized in 2011 at The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, and in 2013 in Valparaiso, Chile.
A Web metasite called StatCodes is being maintained at the Center for Astrostatistics website. It provides hypertext links to many statistical codes useful for astronomy and related fields.
Honors and Awards: Babu is the winner of the 2018 Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research. Babu is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS), a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI), an elected member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a Fellow of the International Astrostatistics Association (IAA) and a 1997-1999 Twinning Fellow of the National Research Council (NRC). Chair, IMS Committee on Fellows 2002-2003, and member of the IMS Committee on Fellows 2001-2004.
Research Professor, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley January - March 2005. Chair, Program Leaders Committee, SAMSI Astrostatistics Program January - May 2006. Program Chair, 2016-17 Program on Statistical, Mathematical and Computational Methods for Astronomy (ASTRO) August 2016 - May 2017. Babu received a 2016 Outstanding Contributions to Astrostatistics Award from IAA.
Babu is a Core Team Member of Informatics and Statistics Science Collaboration of Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. He is the Chair (2017- ) of the Management Committee, Astrostatistics Special Interest Group, at International Statistical Institute (ISI). Babu served as Vice President (2012-2017) and Interim President (2017) of International Astrostatistics Association (IAA). He is the current President of IAA (2018-2020).
Babu was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Statistical Methodology. He served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Nonparametric Statistics, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, and Sankhya.
Babu led the Master of Applied Statistics Program in the Department of Statistics at Penn State as its Professor-in-charge until 2007. This is a professional masters degree program that aims to provide its graduates with employable, highly sought after skills in Applied Statistics demanded by government agencies, consulting firms and industries.