Personal View: Dr. Bose’s Many Gifts to MIT

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on July 23, 2013 · 1 comment

in Alumni Life

Amar Bose ’51, SM ’52, ScD ’56 was the kind of legendary MIT citizen who engaged students, fostered creativity in all his pursuits, and left his mark in important places. Dr. Bose died earlier this month.

In the 1950s, Amar Bose, center, watches as composer Aaron Copland listens to a binaural recording made by the Bose team at Tanglewood: Image: Bose Corporation

In the 1950s, Amar Bose, center, watches as composer Aaron Copland listens to a binaural recording made by the Bose team at Tanglewood: Image: Bose Corporation

After earning his electrical engineering degrees at MIT, he taught at the Institute from 1956-2001. His research in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics led to many patents in acoustics, electronics, nonlinear systems, and communication theory. In 1964, he started Bose Corporation based on his MIT research. Bose clients ranged from the pope, who wanted to improve the acoustics of the Sistine Chapel, to General Motors, which aimed to improve sound quality in vehicles.

The MIT News office article described Bose’s influence at MIT:

Paul Penfield Jr., professor emeritus of electrical engineering and a colleague: “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….”

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.

Professor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70 posted a tribute to Bose in a 2010 Slice of MIT, “When Bose Walked Out.”

In addition to his teaching, mentoring, and research efforts, Dr. Bose fulfilled his lifelong dream of supporting MIT education when he gave the Institute the majority of the stock of Bose Corporation in nonvoting shares in 2011.

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