Whether you’re shopping for speakers, comparing laptops, heading to the cinema, or deciding on a home theater system, you’ll likely see Dolby audio of some variety. All stems from Dolby Labs, which was founded by Ray Dolby back in 1964. Unfortunately, Mr. Dolby passed away today in his home city of San Francisco at 80 years of age.
Dolby hailed from Portland, Oregon, where he was born in 1933, the same location where he spent years working on audio projects before earning his Bachelor degree from Stanford in 1957. According to Dolby.com, he then went on to study at Cambridge on a National Science Foundation fellowship and a Marshall Scholarship. He ultimately received his PhD in 1961, and a few short years later founded Dolby Labs.
Mr. Dolby’s early work included noise reduction systems for tape recordings, something that went on to greatly improve the audio experience of cinema and more. Later on, Dolby Stereo was created with multi-channel playback, bringing to movies both surround sound and center tracks for those with the proper audio setup. And again, not too long later, another innovation was launched, this time being Dolby Surround.
The late inventor had been the recipient of numerous awards, recognition, and honorary degrees, among them being a U.S. National Medal of Technology, a Doctor of Science from Cambridge and Doctor of University from the University of New York, as well as being named Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He received silver and gold medal AES awards, an Emmy, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and more.
Ray Dolby’s overall effect on the technology we enjoy today was immense, and all who enjoy the thundering surround sound at movie theaters or home owe it to his industrious achievements.