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Amar Bose: The sound of a life well lived

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013


Sitting in beautiful Boston on a sunny morning in July, with Cambridge just across the Charles River, it is a wistful exercise to contemplate the life of Amar Bose. Given that Dr. Bose was a well-known professor at MIT and an equally well-known entrepreneur, it is not surprising that his death last week was noted by many local publications. However, Bose Corp. is known everywhere as a provider of some of the best acoustic equipment in the world, so the passing of Amar Bose has been noted by the international press as well.

I remember being in Paris in the late 1980s, having dinner there at the apartment of some friends. They were insistent that I sit in a specially marked spot in the middle of the room to fully appreciate the symphony hall-like quality of their new sound system. They had just purchased a set of Bose speakers, which were positioned carefully to create a magical experience for whoever sat in that special seat. I did as I was told and found that my hosts were absolutely right. It was uncanny how rich and full and lifelike the sound was there, as if one were sitting in Davies Hall listening to MTT direct Mahler. It was indeed magical.

The man behind the excellence of this sound had a typical MIT CV. He was a first-generation American whose parents had fled political upheaval in their homeland. He came from an educated family. He earned his bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. at MIT in electrical engineering. He spent a year back in the Old Country doing a Fulbright and then returned to MIT to teach for the next 45 years. Basically, he spent his entire adult life at MIT. Typical.


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