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Barbara B.
Democrat CA

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    by Senator Barbara Boxer

    Posted on 2013-12-17

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    BOXER. Mr. President, I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring the memory of Dr. Ray Dolby, a trailblazing engineer, entrepreneur, and pioneer in the field of sound who passed away on September 12, 2013. He was 80 years old.

    Born in Portland, OR and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Ray Dolby was a dedicated tinkerer from a young age, always curious about how things worked. As a high school student, he worked after school for the electronics company Ampex Corporation, playing a key role in developing Quadruplex, the world's first commercially successful video tape recorder, which revolutionized the world of television broadcasting.

    After graduating from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Ray began a doctoral program in physics at Cambridge University in England, receiving his doctorate in 1961. The next year, his life changed: He met the love of his life, Dagmar, who was also at Cambridge studying as a summer student, and the two married in 1966 and had two beautiful sons, Tom and David.

    In search of adventure, Ray spent 2 years traversing India as a technical adviser for the United Nations, working with the Indian Government to establish a new national laboratory focusing on the development of scientific and industrial instruments. Buoyed by his research in India, Dolby returned to England in 1965 and founded Dolby Laboratories, which he moved to San Francisco in 1976.

    Throughout his career, Ray Dolby pioneered many of the most significant developments in sound and audio design. Early on, he invented noise-reduction technology that eliminated the hiss that had marred earlier forms of tape recorded sound and in the 1970s introduced Dolby Stereo, which allowed movie studios to record films in multichannel surround sound. The innovation of surround sound played a pivotal role in allowing theater goers around the world to enjoy the sound effects in such groundbreaking movies as ``Close Encounters of the Third Kind'' and ``Star Wars'' and innumerable other popular films produced in the decades that followed. Since then, Ray Dolby and Dolby Laboratories have pioneered a multitude of technologies in noise reduction, audio and video processing, live sound, and digital cinema, and won multiple Emmys and Academy Awards for their work.

    While Ray is often recognized first and foremost for his revolutionary work in the field of sound, he and his wife Dagmar are also known as leaders in San Francisco's philanthropic community. They gave generously to numerous causes and organizations, supporting everything from stem cell research to community parks to the performing arts. I extend my deepest condolences to Ray's loving wife Dagmar; his children, Tom and David, and their spouses; and his four grandchildren. Dr. Ray Dolby will be deeply missed, but his legacy of generosity and innovation will live on in the countless lives he touched. ____________________

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