Damodar Nagesh Shanbhag passed away at his residence in Sheffield, UK, on December 13, 2022. He was 85 years old.
Dr. Shanbhag was born in 1937, in the state of Karnataka, India to Nagesh G. and Rama Shanbhag. He earned his Master’s degree in Statistics from Karnataka University securing a top ranking in 1960, and continued to successfully defend his doctoral thesis in 1967 specializing in Queuing Theory. After a short stint as a lecturer in Poona University, India, Dr. Shanbhag joined the University of Western Australia as a senior lecturer in 1968. He moved to the University of Sheffield, UK, in 1971 and remained there until his retirement in 1997.
He leaves behind his loving wife, Vibha, three devoted children (Sharayu, Sandeep, and Anita), seven grandchildren, three siblings and several extended family members.
Dr. Shanbhag was consumed by his passion in the research area of structural properties and identifiability issues in probability distributions and stochastic processes within the general area of Applied Probability and Theoretical Statistics. Several results were enshrined under his name: Shanbhag’s Condition; Shanbhag’s Lemma; the Lau–Rao–Shanbhag Theorems; the Shanbhag Hypothesis; the Shanbhag Principle; the Seth–Shanbhag–Morris Theorems. His path-breaking paper on the Rao–Rubin characterization of the Poisson distribution published in 1977 led to several collaborative research efforts, especially and prolifically with Professor C. R. Rao. His research work with Professor Rao culminated in the research monograph, Choquet–Deny Type Functional Equations with Applications to Stochastic Models, Wiley, 1994. Functional equations do arise in Applied Probability and their monograph is a veritable trove in solving such equations.
Dr. Shanbhag was a very conscientious, considerate, and meticulous advisor, mentor, and guru. He guided 22 PhD students over his academic career and many more in the role of an advisor. He authored close to one hundred research papers. Even after his retirement, he continued researching, with his most recent paper published in 2021. He also edited books on Stochastic Processes: Theory and Methods (Vol 19) and Modelling and Simulations (Vol 21) jointly with C.R. Rao under the Handbook of Statistics Series by Elsevier.
Dr. Shanbhag was a very honest and humble man, devoted to his family and friends. His collaborative sessions with fellow researchers, are riveting and inspiring. He will be sorely missed. His legacy will surely continue for generations to come, through his students, collaborators and family.
Written by M.B. Rao, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Cincinnati