Remembering faculty and alum Paul Bond

Paul Bond, ECpE faculty and alum, passed away on Oct. 31, 2016. He was 88.
Paul Bond, ECpE faculty and alum, passed away on Oct. 31, 2016. He was 88.

Paul R. Bond, associate professor emeritus for the Iowa State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, passed away Oct. 31, 2016, after a 13-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 88.

After graduating from John Brown University in 1952, Bond enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served four years at a radio relay station in Germany. Bond then enrolled at Iowa State where he earned his master’s degree (‘58) and Ph.D. (‘63) in electrical engineering. In the early 1960s, Bond joined Iowa State’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) Department faculty.

Nationally, Bond was known for his textbook on electronics, Principles of Electronic Circuits, which he co-authored with Stanley Burns. The book features a new learning pedagogy with careful and complete integration of SPICE, a circuit simulation software program widely used in electrical engineering departments, and realistic examples incorporated into the text.

Locally, Bond was known for teaching senior and graduate-level courses in communication theory. He originated and taught a short course, Data Communication, primarily for engineers working in the telephone industry.

Associate Professor Emeritus Thomas Scott said Bond’s Data Communication course was always sold out and sometimes ran twice a year.

Bond’s students said he was invested in teaching and preparing his mentees for the real world. One of Bond’s former Ph.D. students, Frederick Raab, said he felt each of his courses with Bond was useful.

“Paul didn’t just teach a bunch of math,” Raab said. “His courses were practical, with the application tied to math.”

Bond also developed connections with the students he taught. For four years, Raab worked with Bond and narrowed his research into high-efficiency power amplifiers. Raab currently is Chief Engineering and Owner of GMRR, a consulting firm, which he founded himself in 1980. Although Raab graduated years ago, he said he will not forget how Bond was personally invested in his students.

After defending my Ph.D. dissertation, the Bonds invited me to their house for dinner,” Raab said. “This was quite an honor for a mere graduate student.”

Bond was a member of ECpE’s faculty for over 30 years before retiring in 1996. After retirement, he continued to have a strong presence and interest in the technical community.

At a time when no one else was worrying about energy consumption, Paul designed a house that was very energy efficient,” Raab said. “He told me his heating bill was half that of his neighbor. Two years later, during the Arab oil embargo, I imagine a lot of other people were interested in how he did it, or at least envious.”  

Bond’s textbook, Principles of Electronic Circuits, continues to be a strong resource in the basic concepts of electronics.

Through his teaching and contributions to the field of electrical engineering, Bond’s legacy at Iowa State and in communication theory will continue to be recognized for years to come. Faculty and former students will remember him for his real-life teaching applications and dedication to his students.

“Bond was among the most popular and most admired teachers of his time,” Scott said.