It has been reported that audio engineering pioneer Ray Dolby has passed away on Thursday 12th of September. Dolby, who in his career held over 50 patents, and won 2 Oscars, was reported to be suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and acute leukaemia at the time of his death.
Dolby was a pioneer of many advances in audio recording, perhaps most famously the noise reduction system Dolby NR, which removed hiss from recordings. His fascination with sound came after studying the vibrations of his clarinet reeds as a child. He started his career working for Ampex, the company that pioneered video recording, at just 16. He then went on to earn a PhD in physics from Cambridge in 1961. After 2 years of work for the United Nations in India, he founded Dolby Laboratories in London. This company made Dolby a household name, and continued to innovate even after he retired.
His work in audio engineering made Dolby a fortune, which put in comfortably on the Forbes 400 list of richest people in the world. In 2008, he was estimated to have been worth $2.8billion. This fortune is being inherited by his wife.
In a testament to his character, Dolby used his fortune on many acts of philanthropy. He donated to large amounts to many charities throughout his life. At the time of his death, he had donated more than $35million to fund stem cell research at the University of California.
After leading a pioneering career, many had kind words to say about Dolby, who remained a constant inspiration to his peers in the industry. His son, David, a member of the board of directors at Dolby industries, is quoted as saying “My father was a thoughtful, patient and loving man, determined to always do the right thing in business, philanthropy, and as a husband and father. Our family is very proud of his achievements and leadership. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy of innovation will live on.” Neil Portnow, who is head of the Recording Academy, has also said that Dolby “changed the way we listen to music and movies”.
The Dolby Laboratories website also paid tribute to its founders passing by posting inspirational quotes that he had said during his life time. One of them, where he talks about his career as an inventor, reads “Remember that most of my life was that of an adventurer, not of somebody who is trying to invent something all the time. I wanted the experience of travelling to many parts of the world. Inventions were part of my life, but they didn’t overtake everything that I was doing.”
Ray Dolby has led an inspirational life. It’s hard to imagine what the current landscape of audio technology would be like if it wasn’t for his many innovations. He has left behind an unmatchable legacy, and his name will be forever synonymous with surround sound. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
RIP Ray Dolby, gone but never forgotten.
It has been reported that audio engineering pioneer Ray Dolby has passed away on Thursday 12th of September. Dolby, who in his career held over 50 patents...