Robert J. Bernhard received his B.S.M.E. from Iowa State University in 1973, his M.S.M.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1976, and his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University in 1982. He was employed as an Engineer with Westinghouse Electric Company in Baltimore Maryland from 1973-1977. He was an Assistant Professor of Freshman Engineering at Iowa State University from 1977-1982. Upon completion of his Ph.D. in 1982, he joined the faculty of the School of Mechanical Engineering of Purdue University. He was the Director of the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories at Purdue University from 1994 through 2004 and the Director of the Institute for Safe, Quiet, and Durable Highways from 1998 to 2007. He was the Associate Vice President for Research at Purdue University from December 2004 to August 2007. He was elected Vice President for Research at the University of Notre Dame beginning August 1, 2007.
While at Purdue University, Professor Bernhard was affiliated with the Acoustics and Noise Control Research Program of the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories. His research activities include investigations of tire noise, traffic noise, numerical noise control design methods, noise source identification, active noise and vibration control, and machinery noise control applications. His research has been funded by more than a dozen companies as well as by NASA, the US DOT, the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the National Science Foundation. He has directed the research of 49 engineering graduates and has co-authored more than 170 journal and conference publications on various aspects of noise control engineering, numerical methods, vibrations, and design. His research on tire/pavement noise continues.
He is a past President of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, USA, and has been the Secretary General of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering since 2000. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, and was named a Distinguished Noise Control Engineer by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering in 2003.