James H Bramble was born in 1930 in Annapolis, Maryland, USA and received his PhD in mathematics from the University of Maryland in 1958. After working for General Electric and at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, he became professor at the University of Maryland. Since 1968, he has been professor at Cornell University and was for a number of years head of the interdisciplinary Center for Applied Mathematics there. During the period 1975-83 he was chief editor for the distinguished journal, Mathematics of Computation.
For the first period of his scientific career, James H Bramble worked on analytical methods for partial differential equations, often with his teacher, professor L E Payne. During the 1960s he was one of the pioneers in the mathematical analysis of finite difference methods for elliptical problems and since about 1970 he has been one of the leading figures in the mathematical theory on finite element method. He has visited Chalmers on numerous occasions and has close contact with researchers at the university.