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David George Kendall FRS (15 January 1918 – 23 October 2007) was a British statistician, who spent much of his academic life in the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. He worked with M. S. Bartlett during the war, and visited Princeton University after the war.

Kendall was born in Ripon, North Yorkshire, and attended Ripon Grammar School before attending Queen's College, Oxford, graduating in 1939.[2][3][4] He worked on rocketry during the war, before moving to Magdalen College, Oxford in 1946. He was appointed the first Professor of Mathematical Statistics in the Statistical Laboratory, University of Cambridge in 1962, in which post he remained until his retirement in 1985. He was elected to a professorial fellowship at Churchill College, and he was a founding trustee of the Rollo Davidson Trust.

Kendall was a world expert in probability and data analysis, and pioneered statistical shape analysis including the study of ley lines. He defined Kendall's notation for queueing theory.

The Royal Statistical Society awarded him the Guy Medal in Silver in 1955, followed in 1981 by the Guy Medal in Gold. In 1980 the London Mathematical Society awarded Kendall their Senior Whitehead Prize, and in 1989 their De Morgan Medal.[5] He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1964.

He married Diana Fletcher in 1952. They had six children, including Bridget Kendall MBE and Wilfrid Kendall, professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Warwick.


1. ^ David George Kendall at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
2. ^ Grimmett, G. (2008), David George Kendall,
3. ^ Bingham, N. (1996), "A conversation with David Kendall", Statistical Science 11: 159–188, doi:10.1214/ss/1032280213
4. ^ Kingman, J. F. C. (2009), "David George Kendall", Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 55: 121–138
5. ^ London Mathematical Society, List of Prizewinners,, retrieved 2007-07-08

* Obituary in The Times, 21 November 2007
* MacTutor: David George Kendall
* Janus: The Papers of Professor David Kendall
* Royal Society citation


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