I remember learning some years ago of a theorem to the effect that if a polynomial $p(x_1, ... x_n)$ with real coefficients is non-negative on $\mathbb{R}^n$, then it is a sum of squares of polynomials in the variables $x_i$. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly. (The context in which I saw this theorem was someone asking whether there was a sum-of-squares proof of the AM-GM inequality in $n$ variables, so I'm not 100% certain if the quoted theorem was specific to that case.)