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Parameswara Krishnan (1936 – 2021)


Parameswara Krishnan (Krishnan for short) was born in Kerala, India on November 20, 1936, the fourth son of Parameswara Iyer and Narayani Ammal. He passed away after a lengthy illness at his brother’s residence in Trivandrum, Kerala on 17 February 2021 at the age of 84. He joined the IUSSP in 1974. 


Soon after earning his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1971, Krishnan joined the department of sociology at the University of Alberta, Canada, where over a long career, taught introductory and advanced courses in social statistics, methodology, and demography. From 1972 to 1975, he directed the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta. In 1974, he founded the Canadian Studies in Population journal and served as its first editor. In the same year, with the late Karol Krotki he conducted a large-scale fertility survey of Alberta, the Growth of Alberta Families Study. Krishnan was a founding member of the Canadian Population Society, a professional association of Canadian demographers formed in 1975. 


Krishnan’s scholarly contributions intersect the areas of mathematical sociology, demography and population studies. As editor, co-editor or sole author, he published eight volumes, including, Mathematical Models of Sociology (1977); The Elderly Population in Developed and Developing World: Policies, Problems, and Perspectives (1992); and more recently, Glimpses of Indian Historical Demography (2010). Many of his research papers feature mathematical modeling of social demographic processes and the social demography of India. 


Krishnan held visiting assignments at Peking University Population Studies Department; Demography Program at Australian National University; the University of Kerala as a Senior Shastri Fellow; S.V. University, Tirupati, India; and Centro des Estudios Demographicos in Mexico City. He retired from his official duties at the University of Alberta in 1998, but went on to teach at the University of Botswana for a number of years before returning to Kerala. 


Parameswara Krishnan was as a dedicated and productive scholar who made important contributions to demography, statistics, and sociology. Above all, he was a fine human being, a supportive and inspirational supervisor to his students and most generous to his colleagues. 


All his former colleagues and students are especially proud to have had the opportunity to learn and study with him and most of all to know Krishnan as a person. 


Frank Trovato

Edmonton, Canada

February 26, 2021