Kantilal Vardichand Mardia was born on April 3, 1935, in Sirohi, Rajasthan, India. He earned his B.Sc. degree in mathematics from Ismail Yusuf College–University of Bombay, in 1955, M.Sc. degrees in statistics and in pure mathematics from University of Bombay in 1957 and University of Poona in 1961, respectively, and Ph.D. degrees in statistics from the University of Rajasthan and the University of Newcastle, respectively, in 1965 and 1967. For significant contributions in statistics, he was awarded a D.Sc. degree from the University of Newcastle in 1973. He started his career as an Assistant Lecturer in the Institute of Science, Bombay and went to Newcastle as a Commonwealth Scholar. After receiving the Ph.D. degree from Newcastle, he joined the University of Hull as a lecturer in statistics in 1967, later becoming a reader in statistics in 1971. He was appointed a Chair Professor in Applied Statistics at the University of Leeds in 1973 and was the Head of the Department of Statistics during 1976–1993, and again from 1997 to the present. Professor Mardia has made pioneering contributions in many areas of statistics including multivariate analysis, directional data analysis, shape analysis, and spatial statistics. He has been credited for path-breaking contributions in geostatistics, imaging, machine vision, tracking, and spatio-temporal modeling, to name a few. He was instrumental in the founding of the Center of Medical Imaging Research in Leeds and he holds the position of a joint director of this internationally eminent center. He has pushed hard in creating exchange programs between Leeds and other scholarly centers such as the University of Granada, Spain, and the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta. He has written several scholarly books and edited conference proceedings and other special volumes. But perhaps he is best known for his books: Multivariate Analysis (coauthored with John Kent and John Bibby, 1979, Academic Press), Statistics of Directional Data (second edition with Peter Jupp, 1999, Wiley) and Statistical Shape Analysis (coauthored with Ian Dryden, 1998, Wiley). The conferences and workshops he has been organizing in Leeds for a number of years have had significant impacts on statistics and its interface with IT (information technology). He is dynamic and his sense of humor is unmistakable. He is a world traveler. Among other places, he has visited Princeton University, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, the University of Granada, Penn State and the University of Connecticut. He has given keynote addresses and invited lectures in international conferences on numerous occasions. He has been on the editorial board of statistical, as well as image related, journals including the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Journal of Environmental and Ecological Statistics, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference and Journal of Applied Statistics. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and a Fellow of the American Dermatoglyphic Association. He is also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and a Senior Member of IEEE. Professor Mardia retired on September 30, 2000 to take a full-time post as Senior Research Professor at Leeds—a new position especially created for him.
"A Conversation with Kanti Mardia." Statist. Sci. 17 (1) 113 - 148, May 2002. https://doi.org/10.1214/ss/1023799001