Ray Tomlinson - Inventor of the First Email System, Career and Family

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Ray Tomlinson's Personal Details

Raymond Tomlinson was an American computer programmer who was for long credited as the inventor of the email

InformationDetail
BirthdayApril 23, 1941
Died onMarch 5, 2016
NationalityAmerican
FamousInventor of the First Email System, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, Engineers, Computer Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Inventors & Discoverers
Known asТомлинсон, Рэй
Universities
  • Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Notable Alumnis
  • Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)
Discoveries / Inventions
  • Inventor Of The First E-mail System
Birth PlaceAmsterdam, New York, U.S.
GenderMale
Sun SignTaurus
Born inAmsterdam, New York, U.S.
Famous asInventor of the First Email System
Died at Age74

// Famous Inventor of the First Email System

Ray Tomlinson's photo

Who is Ray Tomlinson?

Raymond Tomlinson was an American computer programmer who was for long credited as the inventor of the email. He implemented the first email program on the ARPANET system in the early 1970s and was internationally known for inventing the email. However, following his death in early 2016, a controversy erupted over who actually invented the email with entrepreneur and innovator VA Shiva Ayyadurai claiming to have actually created it. But it is well accepted that it was Tomlinson who innovated the usage of the “@” sign to separate the user name from the name of their machine, an idea which was later adapted for forming email addresses. Born and raised in New York, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy and graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He then proceeded to further his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his master’s degree. He then took up a job with Bolt Beranek and Newman (now Raytheon BBN Technologies) where he played a major role in the development of the TENEX operating system including ARPANET Network Control Program and TELNET implementations. It was during his stint there that he created a program to send messages to other users of a time-sharing computer.

// Famous Electrical Engineers

Childhood & Early Life

Raymond Samuel Tomlinson was born on April 23, 1941 in Amsterdam, New York. He had three brothers.

He received his primary education from the Broadalbin Central School in Broadalbin, New York. He then went to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where he participated in the co-op program with IBM.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1963. Following this he enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There he worked in the Speech Communication Group and developed an analog-digital hybrid speech synthesizer and earned his master's degree in electrical engineering in 1965.

Career

He was appointed by the technology company of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now BBN Technologies) as a computer engineer in 1967. There he helped to develop the TENEX operating system.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), an early packet switching network was a part of the TENEX operating system which also included TELNET implementations. Tomlinson, a pioneering computer genius, wrote a file transfer program called CPYNET to transfer files through the ARPANET.

During this period, a lot of developments were taking place in computer technology and networking. His employers asked him to work on SNDMSG which was an early electronic mail program which was used to send messages to other users of a time-sharing computer. He was told to change the program so that it could run on TENEX.

Tomlinson extended the program by adding code which he took from CPYNET to SNDMSG to create a version that enabled sending messages to users on other computers accessible over the ARPANET. He innovated the use of the “@” sign to separate the user name from the name of their machine.

His message sending innovation, launched in 1971, is generally believed to be the first email that was ever sent. The text of the first email Tomlinson sent was a test, so it was not preserved. According to his own accounts, it was a very forgettable message not worth remembering.

Tomlinson’s email program revolutionized the world of communication. His email software became widely popular and over the years email became one of the most used forms of communication for people all over the world.

In addition he also played a leading role in developing the required services for email, including setting a standard format for email messages, and designing a tool for creating and reading email. He participated in a meeting to enhance FTP to support email which was used until 1982 before being replaced by SMTP.

Major Works

Raymond Tomlinson is widely credited as the inventor of email. In 1971 he updated an existing utility called SNDMSG so that it could copy messages over the network and sent a message from one Digital Equipment Corporation DEC-10 computer to another DEC-10. This message is regarded as the first email ever sent.

Awards & Achievements

In 2000, he was honored with the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum (with the Computer Science Department of Montana State University).

He received a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for lifetime achievement in 2001.

In 2012, Tomlinson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.

Personal Life & Legacy

Raymond Tomlinson died on March 5, 2016 in Lincoln, Massachusetts from a heart attack. He was 74.

Following his death, VA Shiva Ayyadurai, an American inventor of Indian origin, has claimed that it was he, and not Tomlinson who actually invented the email.

// Famous Computer Engineers

Ray Tomlinson awards

YearNameAward

Other

IEEE Internet Award

Ray Tomlinson biography timelines

  • // 23rd Apr 1941
    Raymond Samuel Tomlinson was born on April 23, 1941 in Amsterdam, New York. He had three brothers.
  • // 1963 To 1965
    He graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1963. Following this he enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There he worked in the Speech Communication Group and developed an analog-digital hybrid speech synthesizer and earned his master's degree in electrical engineering in 1965.
  • // 1967
    He was appointed by the technology company of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now BBN Technologies) as a computer engineer in 1967. There he helped to develop the TENEX operating system.
  • // 1971
    His message sending innovation, launched in 1971, is generally believed to be the first email that was ever sent. The text of the first email Tomlinson sent was a test, so it was not preserved. According to his own accounts, it was a very forgettable message not worth remembering.
  • // 1971
    Raymond Tomlinson is widely credited as the inventor of email. In 1971 he updated an existing utility called SNDMSG so that it could copy messages over the network and sent a message from one Digital Equipment Corporation DEC-10 computer to another DEC-10. This message is regarded as the first email ever sent.
  • // 1982
    In addition he also played a leading role in developing the required services for email, including setting a standard format for email messages, and designing a tool for creating and reading email. He participated in a meeting to enhance FTP to support email which was used until 1982 before being replaced by SMTP.
  • // 2000
    In 2000, he was honored with the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum (with the Computer Science Department of Montana State University).
  • // 2001
    He received a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for lifetime achievement in 2001.
  • // 2012
    In 2012, Tomlinson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.
  • // 5th Mar 2016
    Raymond Tomlinson died on March 5, 2016 in Lincoln, Massachusetts from a heart attack. He was 74.

// Famous Inventors & Discoverers

Ray Tomlinson's FAQ

  • What is Ray Tomlinson birthday?

    Ray Tomlinson was born at 1941-04-23

  • When was Ray Tomlinson died?

    Ray Tomlinson was died at 2016-03-05

  • Where was Ray Tomlinson died?

    Ray Tomlinson was died in Lincoln, Massachusetts, U.S.

  • Which age was Ray Tomlinson died?

    Ray Tomlinson was died at age 74

  • Where is Ray Tomlinson's birth place?

    Ray Tomlinson was born in Amsterdam, New York, U.S.

  • What is Ray Tomlinson nationalities?

    Ray Tomlinson's nationalities is American

  • What was Ray Tomlinson universities?

    Ray Tomlinson studied at Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • What was Ray Tomlinson notable alumnis?

    Ray Tomlinson's notable alumnis is Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)

  • What is Ray Tomlinson's inventions/discoveries?

    Inventor Of The First E-mail System was invented (or discovered) by Ray Tomlinson

  • What is Ray Tomlinson's sun sign?

    Ray Tomlinson is Taurus

  • How famous is Ray Tomlinson?

    Ray Tomlinson is famouse as Inventor of the First Email System