Raymond "Ray" Tomlinson, a computer legend and the inventor of email, has died at 74 years old due to a suspected heart attack on Saturday morning.
Very sad news: Ray Tomlinson has passed away. https://t.co/Ghi8B2m3IX
— vinton g cerf (@vgcerf) March 5, 2016
Back in 1971, the Internet Hall of Famer Tomlinson created a system enabling users to send out a message from one network to another, which we know today as email.
He sent the first email when he was working as an engineer with a company in Boston called Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) – a firm which developed ARPANET, deemed as the early version of the Internet. Tomlinson also made the idea of using the "@" symbol in denoting users and the host.
"Tomlinson's email program brought about a complete revolution, fundamentally changing the way people communicate, including the way businesses ... operate and the way millions of people shop, bank and keep in touch with friends and family, whether they are across town or across oceans," says his official biography page on the Internet Hall of Fame.
The American computer legend had undoubtedly gained a slew of awards because of his contributions in the development of email, and the Internet as a whole.
Among these awards include the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award, which he received in 2000 from the American Computer Museum. In 2009, Tomlinson was given the Prince of Asturias Award Laureate for Technical and Scientific Research. He even got the fourth rank on the top 150 innovators list of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he earned an S.M. in electrical engineering way back 1965.
Tomlinson was born in 1941 in Amsterdam, New York. He likewise received a degree in Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1963.
In an interview with The Verge in 2012, Tomlinson recounted the moment he invented email, he said that he was in search for problems [ARPANET] could solve. On deciding to use the "@" symbol in designating a user from the host, he said that "It's the only preposition on the keyboard."
In another interview with NPR, he said that his first email were only strings of characters or some phrases lifted from the Gettysburg Address.
"The first email is completely forgettable," said Tomlinson. "And, therefore, forgotten."