Utah's Digital-Sound Pioneer Dies of Alzheimer's

Utah's Digital-Sound Pioneer Dies of Alzheimer's

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Thomas G. Stockham Jr., a pioneer researcher of digital-sound recording who won a technical Oscar and helped investigate President Nixon's mysterious 18-minute tape gap, has died from complications related to Alzheimer's disease.

The 70-year-old former University of Utah professor died Tuesday in Salt Lake City.

Stockham, an electrical engineer, and the late Robert B. Ingebretsen, who had been his graduate student, did pioneering work in the 1970s on converting analog sound into a digital format. Their work helped lead to the development of compact discs, and they received a Scientific/Engineering Academy Award in 1999.

In 1972, Stockham was one of the experts hired to try to examine the 18-minute gap on one of Nixon's secret White House tapes.

Stockham helped create the computer science department at the University of Utah. In 1975, he founded Soundstream Co. in Salt Lake City. He was joined by Ingebretsen and they produced a digital audio editing system and developed technology that was instrumental in the creation of the compact disc.

Stockham loved classical music and received public attention for his efforts to use computer filtration technology to clean up old recordings of the great tenor Enrico Caruso.

A memorial celebration will be held at noon Sunday at the University of Utah's Libby Gardner Hall.

Ingebretsen died last March.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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