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Dolby, Audio Pioneer, Passes Away

SEPTEMBER 13, 2013

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Ray Dolby, an American pioneer of audio technology, who founded Dolby Laboratories, has passed away died at the age of 80. Dolby died at home in San Francisco. He had been suffering from  Alzheimer's disease for long and was diagnosed with acute leukemia this summer.


Dolby founded his company in 1965 and made it into a leader in audio technology. His work on noise reduction and surround sound led to many  technologies that are still used in music, movies and entertainment. Dolby invented an entire industry around delivering an experience in sound as his work ranged from reducing the hiss in cassette recordings to bringing "Star Wars" to life on the big screen in Dolby Stereo. He held 50 patents and had many notable awards for his work, including several Emmys, two Oscars and a Grammy.



He was awarded the National Medal of Technology by ex-Prez Bill Clinton and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the U.S. and the Royal Academy of Engineers in the U.K. In 2012, the theater that serves as home to the Academy Awards was renamed the Dolby Theatre and the Ray Dolby Ballroom was named in his honor.

Dolby was born in Portland, Oregon, and his family eventually moved to the San Francisco peninsula. It was there that he started his professional work at Ampex Corp. working on videotape recording systems while he was still a student. After graduating from Stanford, he left Ampex to study at Cambridge University. Following his time as a UN adviser, he returned to England and founded Dolby in London. In 1976, he moved to San Francisco where the company established its headquarters.


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