Ray Dolby is an American engineer and inventor of the noise reduction system known as Dolby NR. He was also a co-inventor of video tape recording while at Ampex. He is the founder of Dolby Laboratories. He is also a billionaire and a member of the Forbes 400 with an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion in 2008 although as of September 2012 it was estimated to have declined to $2.4 billion. As a teenager, in the decade following World War II, Dolby held part-time and summer jobs at Ampex in Redwood City, working with their first audio tape recorder in 1949. While at San Jose State University and later at Stanford University (interrupted by two years of Army service), he worked on early prototypes of video tape recorder technologies for Alexander M. Poniatoff and Charlie Ginsburg. As a non degree-holding “consultant”, Dolby played a key role in the effort that led Ampex to announce quadruplex videotape in April 1956. In 1957, Dolby received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford. He subsequently won a Marshall Scholarship for a Ph.D. (1961) in physics from Cambridge University, where he was a Research Fellow at Pembroke College. After Cambridge, Dolby acted as a technical advisor to the United Nations in India, until 1965, when he returned to England, where he founded Dolby Laboratories. In that same year, 1965, he officially invented the Dolby Sound System, although his first U.S. patent was not filed until 1969, four years later.
Chad Meredith Hurley is an American co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer of the popular video sharing website YouTube. In June 2006, he was voted 28th on Business 2.0’s “50 People Who Matter Now” list. In October 2006 he and Steve Chen sold YouTube for $1.65 billion to Google. Before starting YouTube with fellow PayPal colleagues Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, Hurley worked in eBay’s PayPal division. One of his tasks involved designing the original PayPal logo. Hurley was primarily responsible for the tagging and video sharing aspects of YouTube. Chad is the middle child of Don and Joann Hurley, and grew up near Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. He has two siblings, an older sister, Heather, and a younger brother, Brent. Since childhood, Chad showed extreme interest in the arts, but then later became interested in computers and electronic media during high school.
Mitchell David Kapor is the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3. He is also a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and was the first chair of the Mozilla Foundation. During the 1970s, Kapor was employed as a radio disc jockey at WHCN-FM, a commercial progressive rock station based in Hartford, Connecticut. It was also in this period that he became interested in Transcendental Meditation, going on to teach it in Cambridge, Massachusetts (where he also worked as a low-level computer programmer). Kapor subsequently began a career as a mental health counselor at New England Memorial Hospital in toneham, Massachusetts. Kapor worked as head of development at VisiCorp (the marketers of VisiCalc) and selling the rights to his products VisiPlot and VisiTrend to VisiCorp. Shortly after Kapor left VisiCorp, he co-designed and developed an integrated spreadsheet and graphing program. Kapor founded Lotus Development Corporation in 1982 with Jonathan Sachs, Kapor served as the President (later Chairman) and Chief Executive Officer of Lotus from 1982 to 1986 and as a Director until 1987. In 1990, with fellow digital rights activists John Perry Barlow and John Gilmore, he co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and served as its chairman until 1994. In 1990, Kapor’s company ON Technology introduced the product On Location. The EFF was a non-profit civil liberties organization working in the public privacy and expression. In 2001, Kapor founded the Open Source Applications Foundation, where he worked on Chandler Project. His involvement with the Foundation and Project ended in 2008. Kapor became the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation at its inception in 2003. In 2006, Kapor founded, Foxmarks (later renamed as Xmarks), based in San Francisco.
William Henry “Bill” Gates III is an American business magnate and philanthropist. Gates is the former chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company, which he co-founded with Paul Allen. He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third; in 2011 he was the wealthiest American and the second wealthiest person. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and remains the largest individual shareholder, with 6.4 percent of the common stock. He has also authored or co-authored several books. Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Gates has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by the courts. In the later stages of his career, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000. Gates stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in January 2000. He remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work, and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie, chief software architect, and Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer. Gates’s last full-time day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008. He remains at Microsoft as non-executive chairman.
James Franklin “Jamie” Hyneman is an American special effects expert, best known for being the co-host of the television series MythBusters. He is also the owner of M5 Industries, the special effects workshop where MythBusters is filmed. He is known among Robot Wars devotees for his robot entry, Blendo, which, for a time, was deemed too dangerous for entry in the competition. He is one of the designers of the aerial robotic camera system Wavecam, used in sports and entertainment events. On May 16, 2010, he delivered the commencement address and received an honorary Doctorate of Engineering, from Villanova University. Hyneman was born in Marshall, Michigan and raised in Columbus, Indiana. Describing his early life, Hyneman said “I was a problematic kid, to be sure. I left home when I was 14 and hitchhiked all over the country.” He earned a degree in Russian linguistics from Indiana University. He has since received honorary doctorate degrees from Villanova University and the University of Twente. A variety of careers fill his resume, including scuba diver, wilderness survival expert, boat captain, linguist, pet shop owner, animal wrangler, machinist, concrete inspector, and chef. He apparently has a mild case of acrophobia (fear of heights), as mentioned in the “Hammer Drop” episode segment of Mythbusters.
James Francis Cameron is a Canadian film director, film producer, deep-sea explorer, screenwriter, and editor. He first found success with the science-fiction hit The Terminator (1984). He then became a popular Hollywood director and was hired to write & direct Aliens (1986) and three years later followed up with The Abyss (1989). He found further critical acclaim for his use of special effects in the action packed blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). After his film True Lies (1994) Cameron took on his biggest film at the time Titanic (1997) which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and him the Academy Award for Best Director and Film Editing. After Titanic, Cameron began a project that took almost 10 years to make, his science-fiction epic Avatar (2009), for which he was nominated for Best Director and Film Editing again. In the time between making Titanic and Avatar, Cameron spent several years creating many documentary films (specifically underwater documentaries) and co-developed the digital 3D Fusion Camera System. Described by a biographer as part-scientist and part-artist, Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies. On March 26, 2012, Cameron reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, in the Deepsea Challenger submersible. He was the first person to do this in a solo descent, and only the third person to do so ever.
Robert Arthur Moog, commonly called Bob Moog, was an American pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer. The Moog synthesizer was one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments. Early developmental work on the components of the synthesizer occurred at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, now the Computer Music Center. While there, Moog developed the voltage controlled oscillators, ADSR envelope generators, and other synthesizer modules with composer Herbert Deutsch. Moog created the first voltage-controlled subtractive synthesizer to utilize a keyboard as a controller and demonstrated it at the AES convention in 1964. In 1966, Moog filed a patent application for his unique low-pass filter U.S. Patent 3,475,623, which issued in October 1969. He held several dozen patents. Moog employed his theremin company (R. A. Moog Co., which would later become Moog Music) to manufacture and market his synthesizers. Unlike the few other 1960s synthesizer manufacturers, Moog shipped a piano-style keyboard as the standard user interface to his synthesizers.