Behram Kurşunoğlu was born in Çaykara district of Trabzon, Turkey in 1922. While he was a third year student in the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy of İstanbul Yüksek Öğretmen Okulu, he was sent to University of Edinburgh through a scholarship of the Turkish Ministry of Education, in 1945.
After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he completed his doctorate degree in physics at the University of Cambridge. During the period of 1956–1958, he served as the dean of the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Technology at Middle East Technical University and a counselor to the office of Turkish General Staff. He held teaching positions at several universities in the United States, and starting from 1958, professorship at the University of Miami.
In 1965, he acted as one of the founders of the Center for Theoretical Studies of the University of Miami, of which he became the first director. During this period, he also worked in counseling positions for several research organizations and laboratories in Europe. With the invitation of Russian Academy of Sciences, he worked as a visiting professor in the USSR during 1968.
He continued his work at the Center for Theoretical Studies of the University of Miami until 1992, after which he became the director of the Global Foundation research organization.
Professor Kursunoglu died on October 25, 2003 due to heart attack, shortly before that year's Coral Gables Conference which was a festschrift for Paul Frampton combined with a memorial for Kursunoglu in a conference series he had been organizing since 1964. He had three children, İsmet, Sevil and Ayda, from his wife Sevda Arif.