Ray Milton Dolby was an American engineer who took birth on 18 January, 1993 in Portland, Oregon, USA. He was the son of Earl Milton Dolby & Esther Strand. He seeked his education from Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California. Later, he went to San Jose State College and then to Stanford University where he worked on early prototypes of video recorder technologies for Alexander M. Poniatoff and Charlie Ginsburg. He graduated in 1957 and achieved a Marshall Scholarship and a fellowship from the National Science Foundation in Britain. He pursued Physics in his post graduation from Cambridge University and was the first American to be elected as fellow of Pembroke College. He received his Doctor’s degree from Cambridge in 1961 when he was 28 years old.
Ray was a brilliant student and had a fascination over cars, bikes and airplanes. He served as a technical advisor to the United Nations in India. Ray also had the love for music and often used to invite sitar players to his home and conducted their live recordings. He realised the playback failed to deliver clarity against the background disturbances that spoiled the sound quality. He returned to London and established the Dolby Laboratories in 1965. The aim was to create an experience where audio will share an equal footing with visual expressions. He also introduced the A-type noise reduction units. The first record that used Dolby noise reduction was Ashkenazi playing Mozart. Thereafter, film studios started investing in Dolby paraphernalia to provide the audience with an immersive experience. The film ‘A Clockwork Orange’ in 1971 by Stanley Kubrick was the first film to use Dolby encoded sound. From then, the progress of Dolby began. Slowly, Dolby was also used by radio stations across USA.
Ray achieved the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Silver Medal in 1971, followed by the 51st Academy Awards- Scientific or Technical, the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) Alexander M. Poniatoff Gold Medal in 1985, the honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) and much more. Lastly, he received the Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the year 2015.
Ray died on 12 September, 2013 at the age of 80 in San Francisco due to leukemia, leaving behind his wife Dagmar, Tom and David- his two sons and four grandchildren.