Amar Bose

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Amar Bose
File:Amar Bose india times.jpg
Born Amar Gopal Bose
(1929-11-02)November 2, 1929
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died July 12, 2013(2013-07-12) (aged 83)
Wayland, Massachusetts, United States
Alma mater MIT (BS, PhD)
Occupation Founder of Bose Corporation
Net worth $1 billion (2011)
Spouse(s) Prema Bose (divorced)
Children Vanu Bose
Maya Bose

Amar Gopal Bose (Bengali: অমর বোস), (November 2, 1929  – July 12, 2013) was an American academic and entrepreneur of Indian descent. An electrical engineer and sound engineer, he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for over 45 years.[1] He was also the founder and chairman of Bose Corporation. In 2011, he donated a majority of the company to MIT in the form of non-voting shares to sustain and advance MIT’s education and research mission.[2]

Early life and education

Bose was born in a Bengali Hindu family and raised in Philadelphia to a Bengali father, Noni Gopal Bose and an American mother, Charlotte. His father was an Indian freedom revolutionary[3] who, having been imprisoned for his political activities, fled Bengal in the 1920s in order to avoid further persecution by the British colonial police.[4] His mother, Charlotte, is described as an American schoolteacher of French and German ancestry,[5] but Bose described her as "more Bengali than me. She was a vegetarian and deeply interested in Vedanta and Hindu philosophy".[6]

Bose first displayed his entrepreneurial skills and his interest in electronics at age thirteen when, during the World War II years, he enlisted school friends as co-workers in a small home business repairing model trains and home radios, to supplement his family's income.[7]

After graduating from Abington Senior High School in Abington, Pennsylvania, Bose enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating with a BS (Bachelor of Science) in Electrical Engineering in the early 1950s. Bose spent a year in Eindhoven, Netherlands, in the research labs at NV Philips Electronics; and a year as a Fulbright research student in New Delhi, India, where he met his future first wife. He completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering from MIT, writing a thesis on non-linear systems under the supervision of Norbert Wiener and Yuk-Wing Lee.


Following graduation, Amar Bose became an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his early years as a professor, Bose bought a high-end stereo speaker system in 1956 and he was disappointed to find that speakers with impressive technical specifications failed to reproduce the realism of a live performance. This would eventually motivate his extensive speaker technology research, concentrating on key weaknesses in the high-end speaker systems available at the time. His research on acoustics led him to invent a stereo loudspeaker that would reproduce, in a domestic setting, the dominantly reflected sound field that characterizes the listening space of the audience in a concert hall. His focus on psychoacoustics later became a hallmark of his company's audio products.

For initial capital to fund his company in 1964, Bose turned to angel investors, including his MIT thesis advisor and professor, Dr. Y. W. Lee. Bose was awarded significant patents in two fields that continue to be important to the Bose Corporation. These patents were in the area of loudspeaker design and non-linear, two-state modulated, Class-D power processing.

The company Bose founded now employs more than 9,000 people worldwide and produces products for home, car, and professional audio, as well as conducting basic research in acoustics and other fields. Bose never made his company public, and since the company was privately held Bose was able to pursue risky long-term research. In a 2004 interview in Popular Science magazine, he said: "I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by MBAs. But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn't been done before."[8]

Starting in the 1980s, Bose developed an electromagnetic replacement for automotive shock absorbers. This technical breakthrough enables radically improved performance of automotive suspension systems, absorbing bumps and road shock while controlling car body motions and sway.[8]

Bose said that his best ideas usually came to him in a flash. "These innovations are not the result of rational thought; it's an intuitive idea."[9]

In 2007 he was listed in Forbes 400 as the 271st richest man in the world, with a net worth of $1.8 billion.[10] In 2009, he was no longer on the billionaire list, but returned to the list in 2011, with a net worth of $1.0 billion.[11]

Personal life

He married Prema Bose, but later divorced.[when?] They had two children, Vanu and Maya, as well as one grandchild, Kamala. Amar Bose did not practice any religion but did meditate for a short while every day.[12] Vanu Bose, is the founder and CEO of Vanu, Inc., a firm whose software-based radio technology provides a wireless infrastructure that enables individual base stations to simultaneously operate GSM, CDMA, and iDEN protocols for cellphone voice and data transmission.[13]


Bose died on July 12, 2013 at the age of 83 in Wayland, Massachusetts.[1][14][15]


In addition to running his company, Bose remained a professor at MIT until 2001. He earned the Baker Teaching Award in 1963-64, and further teaching awards over the years. The Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching (1989), and later the Junior Bose Award (1995) were established in his honor, to recognize outstanding teaching in the MIT School of Engineering.[16]

In 2011, Bose donated a majority of the company's non-voting shares to MIT on the condition that the shares never be sold.[17] Because these shares are non-voting, MIT does not participate in operations or governance of Bose Corporation.[16]

Honors and Awards


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rifkin, Glenn (July 12, 2013). "Amar G. Bose, Acoustic Engineer and Inventor, Dies at 83". New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Amar Bose '51 makes stock donation to MIT". MIT. April 29, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Rich & Famous In The US | Padma Rao Sundarji". May 22, 1996. Retrieved July 21, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Lemley, Brad (October 1, 2004). "Discover Dialogue: Amar G. Bose". Discover Magazine. Retrieved February 1, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Distinguished Asian Americans: A Biographical Dictionary — Google Boeken. Retrieved July 16, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Shivanand Kanavi (July 26, 2007). "reflections: Amar Bose-A Portrait". Retrieved July 16, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Siliconeer: January 2005
  8. 8.0 8.1 Clynes, Tom (July 15, 2013). "The Curious Genius Of Amar Bose". Popular Science. Popular Science. Retrieved April 21, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Popular Science Dec 2004
  10. "Four Indian Americans make it to Forbes list". www.expressindia. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved February 18, 2008. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Amar Bose's profile". Retrieved April 2, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Shenoy, M. J. A. (July 26, 1999). "Bose And Bose Vs MIT". Rediff. Retrieved February 1, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Amar Bose, Pioneer of High-End Audio, Dies at 83 (Subscription required.)
  15. "Amar, Bose of sound, is dead at 83". The Hindu. November 2, 1929. Retrieved July 16, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. 16.0 16.1 Nickerson, Nate (July 12, 2013). "Amar Bose '51, SM '52, ScD '56, Bose Corporation's founder, has died at 83". MIT News. Retrieved April 21, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Gift to MIT from Amar Bose Raises Tax Questions by Stephanie Strom. New York Times. April 30, 2011.
  18. "IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved October 4, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links