Weekly Heroes – Ray Toplinson

Email inventor Ray Tomlinson

How long has it been since you have sent a letter written on actual paper?
Mandatory cases aside, we can boldly say – we have not done that for a long time.
After all, it is faster and much easier to open a phone or to sit down at a computer, go to your e-mail and write a letter without leaving your home.

But this is a relatively new invention. And the first electronic letter was sent in 1971.

Ray Toplinson is the person who first created the email! Raymond has always been very humble, but goal-oriented. Calmly, but with determination, he pursued this goal and made an invention that changed the world!
Raymond Samuel Tomlinson was born in New York in 1941. He graduated from the oldest research institute in America, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where at the age of 22 he earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. After that, Tomlinson received his master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Ray began his career as an ordinary computer engineer at ‘BBN Technologies’. This company carried out the order of the Department of Defence of the USA – developed the network ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network)
The Government-funded ARPANET was intended to link various scientific research organisations across the United States, which was the forerunner of the Internet.
Nobody knew about the creation of Raymond’s email. Everything began as a simple experiment, to which he devoted part of his free time. He wanted to send messages between two computers. The idea itself did not belong to him, and programmers exchanged messages with the help of smart machines for many years.

But the old technology only allowed sending messages between the users of one computer or by delivering messages to numbered mailboxes.

Our hero also wanted the mail to go straight to the person, and not into a special box, so the best option was to modify and combine existing programs. This new software was called ‘SNDMSG’.
The first users of this program were programmers and researchers, also working on the creation of the ARPANET network. Later Tomlinson increased the utility of the computer to such a level that e-mail became available to the masses.

It was then, in 1971, Tomlinson sent the first email that had changed history! Recently, Ray Tomlinson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame, along with such pioneer computer scientists as Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, and Van Jacobson. Upon acknowledgment, Tomlinson said: “To be honest, I had no idea what consequences this would entail.”

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