Statistics is more than just a numbers game to Professor Shahjahan Khan, it’s a crucial tool for solving some of the world’s most complex problems.
Professor Khan, who is originally from Bangladesh and is the founding professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics and Computing at the University of Southern Queensland, last month received another prestigious accolade for his tireless work in the specialised academic field.
The Bangladesh Statistical Association (BSA) recognised his world-class scientific contributions and global professional leadership by awarding him the prestigious Q M Hossain Gold Medal.
The award was established in 1990 and has been won by only six people, with this being the first time it has been presented to an Australian resident of Bangladeshi origin.
The BSA decided on the award in recognition of Professor Khan’s outstanding research in the area of estimation and test with non-sample prior information, predictive inference for Student-t and elliptical models and statistical meta-analysis; supervision and mentorship of young statisticians and effective worldwide promotion of statistics and its diverse range of applications.
Professor Khan is also the founding chief editor of the Journal of Applied Probability and Statistics (JAPS), and served as the President of the Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences (ISOSS), 2005-2011. In that role he has organised five international statistics conferences in Malaysia (2007), Bangladesh (2008), Egypt (2009), Pakistan (2011) and Qatar (2012).
He is a strong believer that having an understanding of statistics can help people better understand the world around them.
“These days statistics are widely used to help analyse a wide range of areas like the environment, medicine and even politics — everyone is using statistics to solve problems,” Professor Khan said.
“You need to be able to understand statistics to know what’s going on in the world today.”
This is why Professor Khan was a driving force behind the introduction of a new Evaluating Information course at USQ to give students from non-mathematics/quantitative discipline areas a basic understanding of statistics without getting lost in derivations and computations.
“If you know how to look it’s possible to dig up incredibly valuable gems of latent information with statistics from any bulk of data,” he said.
Professor Khan pointed to the release of unemployment statistics by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), just prior to the recent US presidential election, as an example of the power of statistics.
“The timing of the release of those reduced unemployment figures played a big part in the re-election of President Barack Obama. It might just be a number, but it’s a number with a lot of power.”
Professor Khan said he was honoured to receive the prestigious Gold Medal, particularly as it was presented by Bangladesh Finance Minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith at the University of Dhaka.
Prior to receiving the Q M Hossain Gold Medal, Professor Khan received the ISESCO-ISOSS Gold Medal in Pakistan (2001) and ISOSS Gold Medal in Malaysia (2007) for his outstanding contributions to statistical research and development of statistics at the international level.
He is the youngest among all the recipients of the above Gold Medals and the first recipient from Australia.
It may be noted that he is the only Professor of Statistics of Bangladesh origin in Australia.
Professor Shahjahan Khan received his PhD (1992) and MSc degrees in Statistics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
He obtained his BSc Honours (1978) and MSc degrees in Statistics from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. He has lived and worked in nine different countries in South Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East, and North America. He migrated to Australia in 1992 and joined USQ in 1993.
Professor Khan applauded the support of USQ and ISOSS for his professional successes.
Jim Campbell, USQ Media, +617 4631 2977, firstname.lastname@example.org
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