The brilliant mind behind the founding of the Bose Corporation, a name which spells supreme quality in the fields of acoustics and sound systems, Amar Bose was a visionary much ahead of his time. Born and raised in America, he started displaying his astute mind and entrepreneurial skills from a young age. Electronics intrigued him even as a child and he spent hours dismantling and fixing radio sets. Little did he know how much handy his skills would be during the war times! At the time of World War II, when his father’s business was not doing too well, young Amar offered to help his father with his own business venture. Daily after school he would repair radios and contributed to his family’s income. Recognizing his son’s talents, his father though not very rich arranged for him to attend the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He began his career in teaching and had always been interested in research. Eventually he went on to found the Bose Corporation which became a pioneer in speaker technology and psychoacoustics. Even though his initial aim had never been to make money, his company performed very well and he was listed among the world’s richest people in 2007.
- Amar Bose was born to a Bengali father and American mother in Pennsylvania. His father, Noni Gopal Bose had been an Indian freedom fighter who was often imprisoned for his political activities, thus he fled to the U.S. His mother, Charlotte was of French and German ancestry and worked as a school teacher.He went to the Abington Senior High School from where he graduated. He displayed an interest in electronics from a young age and used to dismantle radio sets and study them.During the World War II, his father’s business of importing coconut-fiber doormats from India became impossible due to shipping restrictions. Amar suggested that they start a radio repair shop and he spent his evenings after school repairing radios and supplementing the family income.Impressed with his young son’s talents, his father decided to send him to the best college possible, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His father borrowed $10, 000 in 1947 and sent his son to the MIT.He was meant to study in the MIT for two years, but ended up staying there for nine during the course of which he completed his BS and went on to earn his PhD in Electrical Engineering for his thesis on non-linear systems.Career
- A lover of classical music, he bought an expensive stereo system which was theoretically supposed to produce high quality sound. However on using it he found that it produced very inferior sound, a realization that motivated him to research on the topic.Upon his graduation he became an Assistant Professor in MIT though he was equally interested in research. He went on teach at MIT for 45 years.During the early 1960s, he invented a new type of stereo speaker which made use of multiple smaller speakers. His PhD mentor at the MIT, Dr. Y. W. Lee motivated him to pursue long term research in acoustics. Thus in 1964, he founded his own company, the Bose Corporation that specialized in audio equipment.Bose was striving to create the next generation of speakers. By 1968, he introduced the 901 Direct/Reflecting speaker system which helped to establish him as the market leader in the audio components market.He continued his pioneering research in this field and invented the Bose Wave radio and the Bose noise-cancelling headphones. These inventions were so successful that they were adopted by pilots in both the military and commercial sectors.Bose was very passionate about research and designed a software program that enabled acoustic engineers to simulate the sound from any seat in a large hall. The Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Sistine Chapel and several other spaces used this sound system.Even though Bose was more interested in revolutionizing the acoustics and speaker systems more than making money, profits flowed to his company because of the high quality products they produced. By the 1980s, automobile companies like Mercedes and Porsche began installing Bose audio systems in their vehicles.He remained a professor at MIT until 2001 where he adopted unconventional ways of teaching to motivate his students. He donated a majority of his company’s non-voting shares to MIT in 2011 on the condition that they never be sold.Major Works
- He founded the Bose Corporation in 1964 which is a company that manufactures high quality audio equipment. As on today it operates eight plants, 152 retail stores and employs more than 9,000 employees. The company is best known for its loudspeakers and automotive sound systems.Awards & Achievements
- In 2010 he was presented with the IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award for his "outstanding contributions to consumer electronics in sound reproduction, industrial leadership, and engineering education".He was posthumously honored with the Beryllium Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics International in 2014.Personal Life & Legacy
- He married Prema whom he had met as a research scholar while in New Delhi. The couple had two children and later divorced.He died in 2013 at the age of 83.
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