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It's the rare person who can travel between the artistic and scientific worlds with ease. Ray Dolby connected the two with inventions that expanded the creative possibilities for musicians, filmmakers, and other artists.
Ray Dolby: The Artist’s Inventor
When Ray Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965, movies and television featured only one channel of sound, and record producers were limited to a handful of audio tracks. Much of what happened since then to improve the sound of entertainment can be traced to the efforts of Ray Dolby—not just his technical innovations but the impact they had on artists.
"Dolby's work changed the way movies were made," said director Philip Kaufman, "because sound became a powerful artistic element, and you could do things with sound that had never been done before."
Ray Dolby was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1933 and later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. From 1949 to 1957, he worked on various audio and instrumentation projects at Ampex Corporation, where he led the development of the electronic aspects of the Ampex® videotape recording system. In 1957, he graduated from Stanford University and left for England on a Marshall Scholarship to continue his studies at Cambridge University. He received a PhD in physics from Cambridge in 1961.
Dolby had a desire to explore the unknown, a quality he shared with the artists who would later embrace his technologies.
On January 22, Ray Dolby, audio pioneer and founder of Dolby Laboratories, was honored with a star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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Ray built Dolby Laboratories into a global company.
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In his lifetime, Dolby would earn more than 50 US patents, and the company he started would flourish as a place where scientists and engineers push the limits of sight and sound. Since 1965, thousands of films and billions of products have featured Dolby® technologies.
Ray Dolby died on September 12, 2013, in San Francisco at the age of 80.
The awards and honors Ray Dolby received during his lifetime include:
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