Raymond Tomlinson, the inventor of modern day email has passed away at age 74. Tomlinson is credited for attaching the iconic “@” to his message and using it to send messages through ARPANET.
ARPANET was a computer network developed for US government use and is considered the foundation of the internet as we know it today. Tomlinson invented a program, CPYNET, that would allow file transfers between computers and complimented this with another program SNDMSG within the ARPANET system in 1971.
The combined program was revolutionary as it allowed sending messages from one user to another on different computers and made an impact on how people communicate today and business is conducted. Tomlinson revolutionized person-to-person contact with his invention and stands high among tech pioneers and giants like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
Messages from all over the world have poured out after news of Tomlinson’s passing. Techies from all over the world have expressed sadness in twitter and online outlets.
Among the awards he has received for his pioneering work are the George R Stibitz computer pioneer award from the American Computer Museum, Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Science, Innovation award from the Discovery Magazine and the Eduard-Rhein Cultural Award, MOMA’s department of Architecture & design credits for the use of the @ symbol and acknowledged pioneer in the Internet Hall of Fame.
Tomlinson was known as a very selfless individual who shared his knowledge among peers. In fact instead of starting his own company, Tomlinson stayed with Raytheon Company’s Cambridge Massachusetts office.
Raytheon spokesperson Mike Doble acknowledged Tomlinson’s global contribution: “A true technology pioneer, he brought us email in the early days of networked computers. His work changed the way the world communicates and yet, for all his accomplishments, he stayed humble, kind and generous with his time and talents.”
According to Joyce Kuzman another Raytheon spokesperson: ” Ray was never addicted to email!” Tomlinson says he created email because “it seemed like a neat idea.”
Tomlinson is a native son of Amsterdam New York born in October 2, 1941, an adopted son of Cambridge Massachusettes. He studied at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MIT.
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