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The creator of Email, Ray Tomlinson, passes away aged 74

Raymond Tomlinson is credited as being the inventor of modern email and was the person responsible for first implementing the '@' symbol the way we use it today.

Reports emerged over the weekend that he had passed away at age 74 as a result of a reported heart attack.

In 1971, Tomlinson worked at the research and development company Bolt, Beranek and Newman in Massachusetts. It was there that he sent the first message between two computers using the ARPANET system which was the precursor to today's modern internet.

Tomlinson developed an address system for the messages he was sending between computers that involved separating a user's name from its host domain. To help distinguish which was which, he used the '@' symbol which had previously only been using in accounting to keep track of how much was paid for a product or service.

The '@' symbol is still used today in all of our email addresses and it has even been adopted by Twitter and Instagram and is used as shorthand for at. Tomlinson was also responsible for developing the standard fields found inside an email message which include from, subject, and date.

Tomlinson's work in the field of technology was formally recognised when he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012. He helped give structure and direction to a nascent messaging medium that would not be as developed or wide spread today without his input and guidance.

Image source: Flickr/aileen wang

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.