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Raymond Tomlinson, The Man Who Invented Email, Has Died

The man responsible for how what is now a common way to communicate has passed away.

Raymond Tomlinson, who invented modern email, passed away Saturday, according to the company for which he worked, Raytheon. No other information about his passing is available.

According to the Associated Press:

Email existed in a limited capacity before Tomlinson in that electronic messages could be shared amid multiple people within a limited framework. But until his invention in 1971 of the first network person-to-person email, there was no way to send something to a specific person at a specific address.

Tomlinson’s first email, which went between two computers seated right next to each other, was sent on a system called ARPANET, which was created for the government and was a forerunner of what we now know as the internet. It took place in 1971, in an era when the personal computer was about as common in households as having a rocket ship in the driveway.

Tomlinson’s feat was not lost on him. ¬†When inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame, he reminisced, “I’m often asked ‘Did I know what I was doing?” The answer is: Yeah I knew exactly what I was doing. I just had no notion whatsoever about what the ultimate impact would be.”

Tomlinson’s contribution was not limited solely to email itself. He’s also the person who decided to use the “@” symbol in linking the username with the address, something we don’t think twice about today.

Raytheon released a statement about Tomlinson’s death:

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. 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.”

It seems like the best way to pay tribute to him would be to forward this, right?

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