Professor Bidyadhar Padhi is an eminent Botanist a leading microbiologist of the country. Born on October 8, 1923 in the village Panchupalli in the district of Keonjhar, he had his earlier education in Orissa. He graduated with Botany Honours from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack in 1945 and then moved to Lucknow University for his Master’s Degree in Botany. He studied under internationally reputed Botanists like Prof. P. Parija, Prof. B. Sahani and Prof. S.N. Dasgupta. He joined as lecturer in Botany in Ravenshaw College, Cuttack in 1947 and soon after he was awarded the Post-war Overseas Scholarship to work at the University of California, Berkely for his Ph.D. Degree. He worked with Prof. W.C. Snyder on Pleospora Leaf spot of Lettuce and obtained his Ph. D. in 1952. At California he studied under eminent teachers like Bonner, Emerson, Machlis, Foster, Stebbins, Stanier, Stem and Hansen. After returning to Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, he initiated teaching and research in Mycology and Plant Pathology and continued there upto 1969. With the opening of Post Graduate Department of Botany at Utkal University Campus (Vani Vihar), Dr. Padhi joined as the Founder Professor and Head of the Department in July 1969 and continued in that position till 31st October, 1983, Under his leadership, the Department flourished very well and earned reputation in the country. For well over thirty years he has trained a succession of students in different aspects of Mycology, Plant Pathology and Microbiology, such as Host-parasite relationship; Mushroom and Polypores; Microbiological water quality; Diseases of Papaya and Groundnut; Diseases of ornamentals; Axenic culture of obligate parasites; Nitrogen fixation in Indigofera and legumes, Rhyzosphere and Phyllosphere studies of Sesamum and Arnim spp; Lichens and primary productivity studies in aquatic eco-systems. He was the first Presidsent of the Old Students Association of the Department.
Professor Padhi took the lead to organise the Orissa Botanical Society in an effort to bring together all the botanists of State of Orissa at least once in a year. While he was Professor of Botany, he served in many capacities of the university, such as: Warden of Post-Graduate Hostels, Chairman, Post-Graduate council, Member of the Senate, Member of Academic Council, etc. He was also member of the Syndicate of Utkal University for one term.