Kendall advised President Clinton on global warming, and in 1992 spoke frequently at hearings on an international global warming treaty. He advocated reducing carbon dioxide emissions 60% by 2025 "to lower the risk of unacceptable damage to natural ecosystems and humanity."
He also had a lighter side, as he demonstrated in 1991 when he and other MIT and Harvard Nobel laureates concocted the ersatz Ignatius Nobel prizes. Those awards were designed for people overlooked for prizes named for Ig's distant cousin Alfred Nobel, inventor of TNT.
The Ig Nobel was awarded to then Vice President Dan Quayle as a "consumer of time and occupier of space, for demonstrating better than anyone the need for science education." Michael Milkin, then in prison, received the Ig Nobel as "father of the junk bond, to whom we are all indebted," and Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, received the Ig Nobel for peace "for his lifelong efforts to change the meaning of peace as we know it."
A native of Boston, Kendall was a graduate of Amherst College and earned his PhD in nuclear and atomic physics from MIT. He taught and performed research at Stanford University's High Energy Laboratory from 1956 to 1961, when he joined the MIT faculty.
He was a large shareholder in his family business, Kendall Co., which made Curad bandages, Curity diapers and hospital equipment until it was bought by Colgate Palmolive Co. in 1972.
Kendall is survived by a brother, John, of Sharon, Mass.