W. Dale Brownawell

Woodrow Dale Brownawell (born April 21, 1942) is an American mathematician who has performed research in number theory and algebraic geometry. He is a Distinguished Professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University,[1] and is particularly known for his proof of explicit degree bounds that can be used to turn Hilbert's Nullstellensatz into an effective algorithm.[2][3]

Brownawell was born in Grundy County, Missouri;[1] his father was a farmer and train inspector.[2] He earned a double baccalaureate in German and mathematics (with highest distinction) in 1964 from the University of Kansas,[1] and after studying for a year at the University of Hamburg[1] (at which he met Eva, the woman he later married)[2] he returned to the US for graduate study at Cornell University.[1] His graduate advisor, Stephen Schanuel, moved to Stony Brook University in 1969, and Brownawell followed him there for a year,[1] but earned his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1970.[1][4] That year, he joined the Penn State faculty, and he remained there until his retirement in 2013.[1]

Brownawell and Michel Waldschmidt shared the 1986 Hardy–Ramanujan Prize for their independent proofs that at least one of the two numbers and is a transcendental number; here denotes Euler's number, approximately 2.718.[5] In 2004, a conference at the University of Waterloo was held in honor of Brownawell's 60th birthday.[6] In 2012, he became one of the inaugural fellows of the American Mathematical Society.[7]


  1. Curriculum vitae, retrieved 2015-01-25.
  2. Erem, Suzan (2005), Faces of Penn State, 2005: W. Dale Brownawell, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, Penn State Eberly College of Science, retrieved 2015-01-25.
  3. Smale, Stephen (2005), "On problems of computational complexity", Surveys in modern mathematics, London Math. Soc. Lecture Note Ser., 321, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, pp. 255–259, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511614156.012, MR 2166931.
  4. W. Dale Brownawell at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. Waldschmidt, Michel (1998), "On the numbers , and ", Hardy-Ramanujan Journal, 21, MR 1680117.
  6. The Brownawell Conference, In celebration of the 60th birthday of W.Dale Brownawell, June 17-19, 2004, Fields Institute, retrieved 2015-01-25.
  7. List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2015-01-25.
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