Professor Emeritus A.B. Bonds remembered for Vanderbilt service, passion for music and cars

Vanderbilt Professor Emeritus A.B. Bonds, 75, died April 10, 2022, at his home in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, April 23, from 5-8 p.m. at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville. Tributes begin at 5:30 and all guests are encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts, Professor Bonds’ favored attire.

A.B. Bonds

Alfred Bryan Bonds III, professor of electrical engineering, emeritus; professor of computer engineering, emeritus; professor of biomedical engineering, emeritus, retired in 2011.

Bonds’ research focused on the use of engineering methods and models to improve the understanding of information processing in the visual cortex. He is recognized for his work on spatial filtering, contrast processing and communication within organized, multicellular structures.

In 1980, he joined the Department of Electrical Engineering at Vanderbilt University and was promoted to associate professor in 1983 and professor in 1991. Bonds received his A.B. degree from Cornell University in physics, an M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Northwestern University in electrical engineering, and conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bonds served on the program committee of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and as an associate editor of Visual Neuroscience and of the Journal of Neuroscience. He had served as director of the Computer Engineering program and director of undergraduate studies in electrical engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Bonds was awarded the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1989, the School of Engineering Professor of the Year Award in 1990, the Chancellor’s Award for Research in 2005 and the Dean Edward J. White Award for Service in 2010.

He served as adviser to the Vanderbilt Motorsports team and he served on numerous school and university committees. His passion for antique cars was unsurpassed, with a love of both British and early American cars. He was a regular participant in the New London to New Brighton antique car run with his 1908 Buick.

He once co-led a Class Without Quizzes as part of a Vanderbilt’s Reunion/Homecoming Weekend. The interactive class, “From Enrico Caruso to Norah Jones, From Victrolas to iPods: Advances in Music Recording,” explored the differences between 19th century recording technologies like the Edison Cylinder and the latest portable and online music distribution systems. He also led tours of the School of Engineering for groups of high school Explorer Scouts.

Those who knew A.B. well report that he was a brilliant, caring, intense and irreverent man. A. B. loved music, vintage radios and phonographs, and was especially fond of 1920s jazz. He was a member of the Nashville Community Concert Band, Nashville British Car Club, and the Rolls Royce Owners Club.

A.B. Bonds and his 1908 Buick.