Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of the email passed away on Saturday due to a heart attack. He first developed a system for sending messages over a network in 1971, long before the internet existed.
Tomlinson was responsible for using the @ symbol in emails to indicate that the electronic message was to be sent to another computer on the network. This was first deployed on the ARPANET, which was the precursor to the modern internet and funded by the US Department of Defense. Naturally, Tomlinson was also the first person to send an email.
To say that the invention of email was revolutionary does not give Tomlinson’s work during his time at Bolt Beranek and Newton enough credit. The creator of email has been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame and received numerous awards for changing the way people communicate.