The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Professor Gavin Brown (1942 - 2010 )

Gavin Brown was a Scottish-born mathematician, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney between 1996 and 2008.

After attending secondary school at Madras College in St Andrews, Brown graduated with a Master of Arts degree (1st Class Honours and the Duncan Medal) from the University of St Andrews (1963), a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1966). His academic career began at the University of Liverpool, where he became a senior lecturer in mathematics.

Brown accepted the Chair of Pure Mathematics at the University of New South Wales in 1975 when he and his family emigrated to Australia. During this time, he was awarded the Sir Edmund Whittaker Memorial Prize and the Australian Mathematical Society Medal. At the University of New South Wales, Brown held a number of academic administrative posts, including Head of the Department of Pure Mathematics, Head of the School of Mathematics, and Dean of the Faculty of Science. In 1992, he became the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Adelaide; later, in 1994, he became the Vice-Chancellor. He took up his position as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney in 1996, and retired from the university in 2008.

Brown was actively involved in the work of the Australian Research Council as a chairman of various funding committees from 1988 to 1993, and a member of the Council from 1992 to 1993. He wrote more than 100 research papers and served on the board of several international journals. His research areas were broad, including harmonic analysis, measure theory and algebraic geometry. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of St Andrews (1997) and an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Dundee (2004). In 2006, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Brown died of a heart attack in Adelaide in December 2010.

Further information can be found here