Who Invented Email? – A Brief History
In earlier times, communicating with someone who was far away was considered a difficult and long task. Letters took days, sometimes even months to arrive, so the important work that was to be done was usually delayed. With the arrival of postal services, things got a bit better but then came Email- Electronic Mail. It shortened the communication time to almost nothing. You could write a mail and send it to the another person's Email address, and he/she could read it instantaneously. There was no longer any need to wait for days for months for that person to read your mail and reply back. Thus, one can easily say that Email has been nothing short of a boon for us. “Email”, something which everyone is familiar in these days. Be it, teenagers or adults, everyone happens to have an email account. Not only does Email help in easy communication amongst friends, but it also serves the business purpose of telling the employees of an important meeting or sending important projects. Emails are used by many websites to increase their popularity and reach the targeted audience. Thus, it is not wrong to know a bit about the person who made communication easier and more convenient for us. The invention of email has made it easy for all of us to communicate with people who are far away from us, and more specifically it has become a major medium for corporates to exchange data and information to a huge number of workers at a single click. The features like CC, BCC, attachments are something that we use on a daily basis while communicating with people on the other side. It also offers to attach various types of files, be it an image, audio or pdf. The origination of email goes back to 1978, when an employee of the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, Shiva Ayyaduari, wrote over 50,000 lines of code when he was working there. He had also served as a particle physicist at Brookhaven National Labs. He was the first person to write a full-scale electronic emulation of the interoffice and an inter-organizational mailing system that consists of Inbox, Outbox, Folder and many more other features. The exact date for the invention is 30th August 1982, on this day the US Government gave Shiva recognition for the invention of email. Initial History and Ray Tomlinson Ray Tomlinson was initially credited for the invention of email as he started working on a program for ARPANET in 1971. Ray was an American computer programmer who tried for the very first time to invent the email system on ARPANET. The credit for implementing the “@” sign goes to Tomlinson. He first developed the TENEX Operating System and wrote the file program for file transfer called CPYNET so that the files could be transferred through the ARPANET network. But after his death, Shiva began his work on the email system and got it copyrighted as his software "Email." Shiva Ayyaduari claimed that the features like To, From, CC, BCC, Subject, Body, Attachments and others were invented by him, but this fact is argued by Tomlinson as he says many of these CC, From, BCC were his inventions. Shiva's vision was to invent something that everyone could use, from a secretary to a CEO for reliable sending and receiving of digital messages. Around 2001, customers including American Express, Kmart and Calvin Klein and in addition to these 30 more US senators started using Email as a method of communication, thus increasing its popularity all over the world. The main website of EchoMail states that the "inventor of Email" is Ayyaduari. After this invention, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India's largest science agency, hired Shiva which was a great honor. The institution was directed by Samir K. Brahmachari. Shiva spent months working on a business plan for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Tech, but he did not receive any response from the Director, Samir K. Brahmachari. In the end, his job offer was withdrawn within 5 months of him being offered the position in the first place. November 2011, TimeTechland interview by Doug Aamoth entitled him as "The Man Who Invented Email." In that interview, Ayyaduari recalled that Les Michelson, former particle scientist at Brookhaven National Labs was the one who had assigned Ayyaduari the project. He recalled that Michelson said "Your job is to convert that into an electronic format. Nobody's done that before.” And indeed, he was capable of doing it. Beyond all this Shiva holds four degrees from MIT, he is a Full Bright Scholar, MIT-Lemelson Award Finalist and Westinghouse Science Talent Search Honours Award recipient and is still working as both an inventor and system scientist across a huge range of media, medicine, art, and technology. He also started the Innovation Corps for supporting the youth. Despite all the controversies surrounding the invention of Electronic Mail, it can be openly seen that Ayyaduari holds an important part in it. He did the unthinkable without the fear of failing. Reading his story, one can't help but think that if one sets his mind to something nothing can stop him. His achievements and hard work is an inspiring story for youths all over the world. People should look up to him and learn that nothing is impossible and that hard work along with having belief in yourself are the two most important things for being successful in life.