Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email and the man who picked the @ symbol for addresses, has died aged 74.
Tomlinson was responsible for bringing us email in the early days of networked computers.
He became well known for his invention in 1971 of a program for ARPANET, the Internet’s predecessor, that allowed people to send person-to-person messages to other computer users on other servers.
Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map,” read a Tweet from Gmail’s official Twitter account.
Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map. #RIP
— Gmail (@gmail) March 6, 2016
Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf called his death “very sad news.”
Very sad news: Ray Tomlinson has passed away. https://t.co/Ghi8B2m3IXAdvertisement
— vinton g cerf (@vgcerf) March 5, 2016
Originally from Amsterdam, New York, Tomlinson went to MIT in the 1960s. When he made his email breakthrough, he was working at research and development company Bolt Beranek and Newman – now Raytheon BBN Technologies.
Tomlinson is the one who chose the “@” symbol to connect the username with the destination address and it has now become a cultural icon.
He could never have imagined the multitude of ways email would come to be used.
Email became part of everyday life so quickly we didn’t have enough time to learn how to properly use it.
On Twitter tributes poured:
We have Ray Tomlinson to thank for email and the modern use of the @ sign. He’s died @ 74 https://t.co/PqEh2Y4FM6
— James Titcomb (@jamestitcomb) March 6, 2016
Ray Tomlinson, the creator of email has died. He’s survived by his wife, kids, and hundreds of contacts. #RIP
— Andrew Goldstein (@AngeGold) March 6, 2016
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) March 8, 2016
Ray Tomlinson is attributed with “@” and many other achievements but Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai @va_shiva has the copyright on email. R.I.P Ray.
— Arvind Gupta (@buzzindelhi) March 7, 2016
Ray Tomlinson, the man who created email, has died. I still use the first email address I ever created back from 1995: [email protected]
— Maddox (@maddoxrules) March 7, 2016