Ray Tomlinson, the American programmer who invented the electronic messaging service (Email) in 1971, has died at the age of 74, from the heart attack. He was credited with inventing email and designing the symbol of email as well. He implemented the first email system on the ARPANET system.
In the old days, email could be delivered only to receivers who used the same computer. He invented a system to enable the users to send email messages to different computers. To accomplish this, he used the @ sign to free the username from the name of their computer, a pattern which has been used in email addresses ever since.
He was also the foremost developer of standards for the “From”, “Subject”, and date fields found in email messages today.
Tomlinson told that the first ever email message that was sent by him contained the text “QWERTYUIOP”. It was certainly a test e-mail.
Raymond Tomlinson obtained a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1963. From there, he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he secured a master’s degree in electrical engineering and worked on speech synthesis.
In 1967, Tomlinson was an engineer at the R&D company Bolt Beranek and Newman (later acquired by Raytheon Co) where he wrote a file-transfer program called CPYNET to transfer files through the ARPANET. He combined code he took from CPYNET to SNDMSG so emails could be sent to users on different computers.
At the time of his death, he still worked at BBN.
A spokeswoman for Raytheon Co, Joyce Kuzman said, ““People just loved to work with him. He was so patient and generous with his time. He was just a nice, down-to-earth, good guy.””
It seems like, with the end of the days of email, Ray Tomlinson’s era is also ended. Today, internet users rely a lot more on instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook. R.I.P Ray Tomlinson!