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Ray Milton Dolby

Ray Milton DolbyBorn: 18-Jan-1933
Birthplace: Portland, OR
Died: 12-Sep-2013
Location of death: San Francisco, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - Leukemia

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Business, Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Inventor of Dolby stereo

Physicist, inventor, and entrepreneur Ray Milton Dolby was always interested in music. Scientifically, he was interested in the vibrations that make sound, and as the owner of a high-fidelity set and a pianist himself, he wanted audio recordings that more accurately recreated the original performance of the music. Growing up in California's Redwood City, he was the geeky teenager that adults turned to when audio-video equipment needed repairs, and after a chance meeting with local electronics manufacturer Alexander M. Poniatoff, founder of Ampex, he went to work for that electronics firm before graduating from high school. Through his college years he was part of the company's six-person team that developed the first practical video tape recorder in 1957.

After Dolby earned his PhD at Cambridge, he joined UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and was assigned to India. There, while visiting an ashram to record sitar music, he conceived of a noise reduction system for sound recordings. His original system, developed in 1965, diminished tape hiss during audio recording by using circuitry of Dolby's design to automatically boost the amplitude of selected low-level signals, and applying opposite circuitry to restore these signals to their original volume during playback, effectively drowning out the hiss. He founded Dolby Laboratories in the same year, and later worked with Henry Kloss (1929-2002) to adapt the system for use outside professional recording studios, including home, cinema, and high-definition television use. With this, the Dolby brand became a recognized symbol of quality in audio recording and reproduction.

In the early 1980s, Dolby Labs took legal action against rock'n'roll star Thomas Dolby (real name: Thomas Morgan Robertson). The performer's stage name arose from being nicknamed "Dolby" by bandmates in his youth, for his mastery of Dolby-branded equipment. A common sense settlement has allowed the musician Dolby to retain his stage name, so long as he neither claimed affiliation with Dolby Labs nor attempted to market electronic or musical equipment.

Father: Earl Milton Dolby (b. 1905, d. 1994)
Mother: Esther Eufemia Strand Dolby
Brother: Dale Phillip Dolby
Wife: Dagmar Bäumert Dolby (m. 1966, two sons)
Son: Tom Dolby
Son: David Dolby

    High School: Sequoia High School, Redwood City, CA (1951)
    University: BS Electrical Engineering, Stanford University (1957)
    University: PhD Physics, Cambridge University (1961)

    Dolby Laboratories Founder (1965-2011)
    UN Official Adviser, UNESCO (1963-65)
    Ampex Engineer (1952-57)
    Ampex Lab worker (1949-52)
    German Marshall Fellowship 1957
    AES Emile Berliner Award 1972
    SMPTE Samuel L. Warner Award 1978
    Audio Hall of Fame 1981
    Officer of the British Empire 1986
    Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award, 1989
    Oscar Academy Award of Merit, 1989
    Grammy Award of Special Merit, 1995
    IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award 1997
    National Medal of Technology and Innovation 1997
    Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame 2000
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 2004
    IEEE Edison Medal 2010
    Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2003
    Audio Engineering Society
    National Science Foundation 1957
    San Francisco Opera Board of Directors
    San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors
    Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
    Bill Bradley for President
    Bush-Quayle '92
    Hillary Clinton for President
    National Republican Congressional Committee
    Obama for America
    Pete Wilson for President Committee
    Republican National Committee
    Draft Deferment: Korea
    Swedish Ancestry Maternal
    Risk Factors: Alzheimer's, Leukemia

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