Ray Dolby, while a college student working part time at Ampex, also made significant contributions to the FM recording method for the first VTR in 1956. The idea of using FM to compress very wide bandwidth signals like video and radar is still used extensively today in data recording. Your disk drives all use this technology.
Specifically he did not come up with the FM recording idea but did introduce the multivibrator type modulator which could produce the FM carrier directly from the video signal thus greatly simplifying the video signal system. Current technology at the time required deviating a 50mhz+ crystal oscillator (needed high frequencies because crystal oscillators have a very narrow deviation range) then hetrodyning it down to the 5-10mhz range to record on tape - all with vacuum tubes! Ray's multivibrator circuit could do it with one dual triode tube (or two transistors in later years).
Note: The LA Times today credited Ray Dolby as the chief design engineer for the VTR at Ampex. That is incorrect. The head of the team was Charles Ginsburg. Nonetheless, Ray played a very significant part in the team.
And you thought he was an audio guy!
Ray is fourth from the left. Note that's just the tape transport. The all vacuum tube VTR electronics took up two full racks. When color was added that took two more racks!Edited by Glimmie - 9/13/13 at 11:48am