• Amar Bose

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  • Amar Bose, who served on the MIT faculty with distinction for 45 years.

    Image courtesy of Bose Corporation

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  • Amar Bose was celebrated at MIT for the quality of his teaching.

    Image courtesy of Bose Corporation

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  • The Bose 2201 speaker, Bose's first commercial product, came out in 1965.

    Image courtesy of Bose Corporation

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  • Amar Bose and research colleagues circa 1960.

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  • Early 1960s: Amar Bose (center) watches as composer Aaron Copland listens to a binaural recording made by Bose and his research team at Tanglewood.

    Image courtesy of Bose Corporation

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  • Amar Bose

    Image courtesy of Bose Corporation

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  • Amar Bose, center, with mentors Y. W. Lee, far left, and Norbert Wiener, right, at MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics in 1955.

    Image courtesy of the MIT Museum

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Amar Bose ’51, SM ’52, ScD ’56, Bose Corporation’s founder, has died at 83

Entrepreneur served on faculty for 45 years; championed long-term corporate research.


Amar Bose ’51, SM ’52, ScD ’56, a former member of the MIT faculty and the founder of Bose Corporation, has died. He was 83.

Dr. Bose received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate from MIT, all in electrical engineering. He was asked to join the faculty in 1956, and he accepted with the intention of teaching for no more than two years. He continued as a member of the MIT faculty until 2001.

During his long tenure at MIT, Dr. Bose made his mark both in research and in teaching. In 1956, he started a research program in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics: This led to his development of many patents in acoustics, electronics, nonlinear systems and communication theory.

Throughout his career, he was cited for excellent teaching. In a 1969 letter to the faculty, then-dean of the School of Engineering R. L. Bisplinghoff wrote, “Dr. Bose is known and respected as one of M.I.T.’s great teachers and for his imaginative and forceful research in the areas of acoustics, loudspeaker design, two-state amplifier-modulators, and nonlinear systems.”

Paul Penfield Jr., professor emeritus of electrical engineering, was a colleague of Dr. Bose, and he recalls what made Dr. Bose different. “Amar was personally creative,” he said, “but unlike so many other creative people, he was also introspective. He could understand and explain his own thinking processes and offer them as guides to others. I’ve seen him do this for several engineering and management problems. At some deep level, that is what teaching is really all about. Perhaps that helps explain why he was such a beloved teacher.”

Dr. Bose received the Baker Teaching Award in 1963-64; he would receive further awards in later years. In 1989, the Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching was established by the School of Engineering to recognize outstanding contributions to undergraduate education by members of its faculty. The award was established in order to serve as a tribute to the quality of Dr. Bose’s teaching; it is the School’s highest award for teaching. In 1995, the School established another teaching award, the Junior Bose Award: recipients are chosen from among School of Engineering faculty members who are being proposed for promotion to associate professor without tenure.

“Amar Bose was an exceptional human being and an extraordinarily gifted leader,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said. “He made quality mentoring and a joyful pursuit of excellence, ideas and possibilities the hallmark of his career in teaching, research and business. I learned from him, and was inspired by him, every single time I met with him. Over the years, I have seen the tremendous impact he has had on the lives of many students and fellow faculty at MIT. This proud MIT graduate, professor and innovator was a true giant who over decades enriched the Institute he loved with his energy, dedication, motivation and wisdom. I have never known anyone like him. I will miss him. MIT will miss him. The world will miss him.”

In 1964, Dr. Bose started Bose Corporation based on research he conducted at MIT. From its inception, the company has remained privately owned, with a focus on long-term research.

“Dr. Bose founded Bose Corporation almost 50 years ago with a set of guiding principles centered on research and innovation. That focus has never changed, and never will,” said Bob Maresca, president of Bose Corporation. “Bose Corporation will remain privately held, and stay true to Dr. Bose’s ideals. We are as committed to this as he was to us. Today and every day going forward, our hearts are with Dr. Bose; and we will do everything we can to make him proud of the company he built.”

In 2011, to fulfill his lifelong dream to support MIT education, Dr. Bose gave to MIT the majority of the stock of Bose Corporation in the form of nonvoting shares. Under the terms of the gift, dividends from those shares will be used by MIT to sustain and advance MIT’s education and research mission. MIT cannot sell its Bose shares, and does not participate in the management or governance of the company.

In expressing appreciation to Dr. Bose on the occasion of the gift, MIT’s then-president, Susan Hockfield, said of him, “His insatiable curiosity propelled remarkable research, both at MIT and within the company he founded. Dr. Bose has always been more concerned about the next two decades than about the next two quarters.”

“Amar Bose was a legend at MIT,” said MIT Chancellor Eric Grimson, who served as a faculty colleague of Dr. Bose in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “He was an incredible teacher, an inspiring mentor, a deep and insightful researcher. He has influenced multiple generations of students, both directly through the classroom and laboratory, and through the many students he influenced who have themselves pursued careers as faculty, propagating Professor Bose’s approach to mentorship and teaching.”

Dr. Bose was given many awards and honors during his lifetime. He was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar, an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Vanu G. Bose ’87, SM ’94, PhD ’99, son of Dr. Bose, said, “Personally, my single greatest educational experience at MIT was being a teaching assistant for my father in his acoustics course (6.312). While my father is well known for his success as an inventor and businessman, he was first and foremost a teacher. I could not begin to count the number of people I’ve met who’ve told me that my father was the best professor they ever had and how taking 6.01 from him changed their life.

“My father’s 66-year relationship with MIT was an integral part of his life. He would often talk about his mentors, professors Ernst Guillemin, Norbert Wiener, Y. W. Lee and Jerome Wiesner, as having played critical roles in shaping his life and work. It was because of everything that MIT did for him that my father was so pleased to be able to give back to MIT through his gift.”

Gifts in memory of Dr. Amar G. Bose may be made to MIT and will be directed to undergraduate scholarship support, building upon Dr. Bose's legacy of support for students: contact Bonny Kellermann '72, Director of Memorial Gifts, at bonnyk@mit.edu, for details. Gifts may also be directed to the Lahey Clinic.

This article will be updated with information about plans to honor Dr. Bose’s memory as details become available.


Topics: Alumni/ae, Education, teaching, academics, Electrical engineering and electronics, Faculty, Entrepreneurship, Audio, Bose, President L. Rafael Reif

Comments

He was a great teacher and innovator. He has changed the world we live in. His life’s work has touched all of our lives and has left a legacy that will live on for generations. Thank you for all you have done.
Doctor Bose was an inspiration to me for his work in acoustics. Even today, my personal workstation speakers are Bose. I purchased them because they were some of the few that allowed multiple input sources, so I could simultaneously connect up my workstation and laptops to the same output speakers. His passing will be sorely missed! I say that as a serious amateur musician, with family members who are major symphonic musicians in their own right. Bose speakers are the standard to which all others should strive to attain.
I was in Physics Department, MIT during 1975-1976. Being a Bengali made me proud of Dr Bose. Even though I returned to India in 1976 due to severe ill health and could not return to continue my S.M. studies due to extreme poverty, I have been following the remarkable contributions of Dr Bose. His death has truly saddened me, for reasons even I cannot explain. The poem by Swami Vivekananda is my humble tribute to Dr Bose: Speed forth, O soul! upon thy star-strewn path, Speed, blissful one, where thought is ever free, Where time and sense no longer mist the view, Eternal peace and blessings be on thee! Thy service true, complete thy sacrifice, Thy home the heart of love transcendent find, Remembrance sweet, that tells all space and time, Like altar-roses, fill thy place behind. Thy bonds are broke, thy quest in bliss is found. And-one with that which comes as Death and Life, - Thou helpful one! unselfish e'er on earth, Ahead, still aid with love this world of strife.
Prof. Amar Gopal Bose was a person who had large dreams, and he also had the capacity to translate these dreams to reality. I am Sugata Sanyal, retired Professor from TIFR, India.I will be happy to see a complete biography of Prof. Amar Gopal Bose, if MIT, Bose Corporation or Dr. Bhanu Bose can take up and make it happen. We will be happy to know about the life of a legend. An affordable book will be a fitting gift which will help the world to know more about BOSE. This request, I am sure, will echo the sentiment of many persons across the world. Warm regards: Sugata Sanyal sanyals@gmail.com
6.01 was challenging but Dr. Bose made everything so interesting one was always led to more and more fascinating questions. His energy level was always quite high. All those who crossed his path truly miss him for all the science he taught and how he taught it. The process of discovery was what left the greatest impression upon my own mind. Thank you so much and God Bless.
RIP
He just did'nt teach ,he connected well with his students ,his was quality teaching , every thing he taught was like gold.You are a great inspiration to me SIR .
I owned an audio business starting in the state of Washington in the late 1960's. in 1969 I met a regional sales rep who lived in Idaho who owned a private plane which he used to travel the western states to promote the original Bose 901 speakers. One day the rep came to my company to introduce the product. I was so taken aback by the performance I immediately become a dealer. The Bose product was a mainstay in the company for many years and we had the good fortune of being the largest volume dealer per sq.in the country. The real highlight and inspiration for me personally was that I had many business and personal meetings with Amar in both Boston and in Washington. I admired him greatly and have never forgetten.
While in Boston some 45+ years past, upon entering a building for a meeting, coming from the balcony I heard a marvelous symphonic piece which I had long enjoyed, yet to which had never previously discovered the Title nor the composer. I detoured upstairs and met a most gracious gentleman named Dr. Amar Bose, then demonstrating his new "v" shaped speakers. Dr. Bose identified Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D. We chatted at length in re mutual interests in exacting symphonic sound replication and reproduction. I made my first purchase that very day, that same speaker system for a couple's new home. Suffice it to say that that was only the beginning . . . My family and I have long enjoyed Bose products in our homes, my offices, and aircraft, and vehicles. Should there be a memorial planned to honor Dr. Bose we would be pleased to support same. I'm certain those at The Mountain will proceed apace, carrying on the tradition. The gentleman will be sorely missed. R.I.P. Dr. Bose.
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