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Amar Bose, founder of Bose and former MIT faculty member, dies aged 83

Amar Bose, former MIT faculty member and founder of the Bose Corporation, died on Friday at the age of 83.

The inventor and billionaire entrepreneur's name is now synonymous with the high-quality audio equipment his company has been manufacturing for almost 50 years.

His death was confirmed by his son, Vanu Bose, the New York Times reported.

As a young engineer in the early 1960s, Bose built a new type of stereo speaker based on psychoacoustics (the study of sound perception), which aimed a set of small speakers at the surrounding walls, instead of directly toward the listener — a visionary concept at the time.

Though his early attempts fell short, Bose eventually built an empire of first-rate speaker systems, radio technology, and noise-cancelling headphones so effective that military troops and commercial pilots picked up pairs of their own.

Bose President Bob Maresca remembered the man behind the name, saying in a statement that the company is "deeply saddened" by his passing.

"It is impossible to put into words what Dr. Bose meant to each of us, and to [the company]," Maresca said. "He was more than our Chairman. He was our teacher — always encouraging us, always believing that we could do great things, and that anything was possible."

Bose carried that mantra into his work as a teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, joining the faculty in 1956 and spending more than 45 years there as an educator; he retired in 2001.

"Amar Bose was an exceptional human being and an extraordinarily gifted leader," college president L. Rafael Reif said in a statement. "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."

During his tenure at MIT, Bose started a research programme in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics, and received the Baker Teaching Award in 1963-64, among other honours. In 2011, Bose gifted the school the majority of his company's stock in the form of nonvoting shares, ensuring that all dividends would be used for the school's education and research mission.

Meanwhile, current Bose president Maresca promised to stay true to the founder's intentions of keeping the company private — a move that once opened doors to risky projects, like noise-cancelling headphones and suspension systems for cars, the Times pointed out.

"Dr. Bose was an incredible mentor and inspiration to Bose employees around the world," Maresca said. "Today, and every day going forward, our hearts are with him, and our work will honor him."

Image credit: Flickr (sneurgaonkar)