Mahendra G Nadkarni obtained BSc (Hons) (1958) and MSc (Mathematics) (1960) from University of Mumbai. He studied at Indiana University (1960-62), and then Brown University (1962-65) from where he obtained the PhD in Applied Mathematics under the guidance of Murray Rosenblatt. He worked as Instructor at Washington University St Louis, Missouri (1965-66), and then Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1966-68) where he worked with VS Mandrekar on problems connecting ergodic theory with harmonic analysis resulting in publication of papers which find place in books on analysis and ergodic theory. Thereafter, he joined Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata as Associate Professor (1968) and then Professor (1972). He was Bal Shastri Jambhekar Professor of Mathematics (1980-99) at University of Mumbai. He was Visiting Fellow during 1985-86 at the universities of McGill, York and Toronto in Canada; and also the University of Paris (1989). After retirement (1999), he taught at Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai and University of Mumbai, and also worked as INSA Senior Scientist and Raja Ramanna Fellow of the Department of Atomic Energy.
Academic and Research Achievements: At ISI, Kolkata, Nadkarni and his student Joseph Mathew did special studies on the systems of imprimitivity, cocycles and spectra. At the University of Mumbai, he worked on interface of: (i) ergodic theory and descriptive set theory, and (ii) ergodic theory and harmonic analysis, and published two books, one on each topic. His notable findings here relate to the existence of finite invariant measure and the group properties of the spectrum of ergodic transformations. His other investigations relate to martingales and entropy.
Other Contributions: Professor Nadkarni was Member of National Board of Higher Mathematics as well as being its Secretary. While at the University of Mumbai, he improved the examination procedures and organized a number of refresher courses and instructional conferences.