Raymond Samuel Tomlinson is a US programmer who sent the first email in 1971 in ARPANET Network. He received the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum in April 2000. He is also the man who put the @ sign in the e-mail. He chose the @ sign to connect the username with the destination address. Before inventing Email he got the idea to merge an intra-machine message program with another program developed for transferring files among the ARPANET computers.
He was born in 1941 in Amsterdam, New York. He attended Broadalbin Central School when his family moved to the small, unincorporated village of Vail Mills, Broadalbin, soon after he was born. He participated in the co-op program with IBM while attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. He received a B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from RPI in 1963. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to continue his electrical engineering education after graduating from RPI and received an Electrical Engineering degree in 1965. Later he joined the technology company of Bolt, Beranek and Newman, where he helped develop the TENEX operating system including ARPANET Network Control Protocol and TELNET implementations.
Tomlinson was asked to change a program called SNDMSG. This program send messages to other users of a time-sharing computer, to run on TENEX. He added code he took from CPYNET to SNDMSG so messages could be sent to users on other computers. This was called the first email. The first email Tomlinson sent was a test e-mail. No one know what he sent in the message. Mr. Tomlinson commented that these test messages were entirely forgettable and I have, therefore, forgotten them. He describes it as insignificant, something like QWERTYUIOP. When he told about his message success to his colleague Jerry Burchfiel, he said Don't tell anyone! This isn't what we're supposed to be working on.
He won various awards till date. Some are George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum in the year 2000, Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in the year 2001, Innovation Award by Discover Magazine in the year 2002, IEEE Internet Award in the year 2004 and in 2009 Prince of Asturias award for scientific and technical research. In 2011, He was listed 4th in the MIT150 list of the top 150 innovators and ideas from MIT for the year 2011 and In 2012, Tomlinson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.