Inventor of modern email dies at 75
Considered to be the inventor of modern email, Raymond Tomlinson, passed away Saturday at the age of 75.
His employer, Raytheon Co., confirmed his death Sunday according to USA Today. Until Tomlinson’s creation in 1972 of the first person to person network email there really was no way of sending something to a specific person at a specific address.
Tomlinson chose the @ symbol to connect a username with a destination address.
According to NPR, the first email was sent on the ARPANET system, a computer network that was created for the U.S. government that is considered a precursor to the Internet. Tomlinson also contributed to its development.
At the time, few people had personal computers. The popularity of personal email wouldn't take off until years later but has become an integral part of modern life.
“It is with great sadness we acknowledge the passing of our colleague and friend, Ray Tomlinson. A true technology pioneer, Ray was the man who brought us email in the early days of networked computers.," Raytheon said in a statement. "His work changed the way the world communicates and yet, for all his accomplishments, he remained humble, kind and generous with his time and talents, He will be missed by one and all."
According to a biography on the Internet Hall of Fame, Tomlinson was born in Amsterdam, New York in 1941. He attended college at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he participated in an internship program with IBM and received a degree in electrical engineering in 1963. He later earned a S.M. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.