Meet the man who invented email at the age of 14

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Old 15-Sep-2016
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Meet the man who invented email at the age of 14

The importance of email in the modern business communication is undeniable. Every day, millions of emails are sent and received across the world because they're instant and cheap, keep records and are distance independent. There is no limit to its use. You can send one email to multiple people, automate mails and what not!

Have you even wondered who the genius is who came up with the idea of emails and made it a reality?

VA Shiva Ayyadurai, hailing from a Tamil family in Mumbai, is recognised to have invented the e-mail at the tender age of 14.

1. Ayyadurai was only in high school when he volunteered for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), where his mother worked. There, he met the scientist Les Michelson, under whose tutelage he invented the email.

2. Ayyadurai says that he was about to drop out of high school at that point of time because he was too bored, when one of his teachers urged him to participate in a science contest of great importance. He ended up winning an honours award out of it with his work on 'a High Reliability, Network-Wide, Electronic Mail System'.

3. Ayyadurai won a Westinghouse Science Talent Search Award for high school seniors in 1981 for his work.

4. He invented the email in 1978 and copyrighted it on Aug 30, 1982. The program was designed for use in medicine and dentistry. Soon after that, he started attending MIT as an undergraduate.

5. Prior to 1978, various components of email were in development, though these did not constitute an email system you could use. There were methods to transfer messages from one computer to another. The only people who could use that were rocket scientists and computer programmers.

6. According to Ayyadurai, his email system was created not only for technical people but as an initiative to make communication easier and accessible for ordinary users such as a doctor, a dentist or a secretary.

7. However, doctors didn't show much interest in using computers but email proved to be revolutionary for people doing research since it made them switch to computers from typewriters as it was possible to finally send your writing to other people.

8. Ayyadurai has been part of several controversies since then as the invention of email has been claimed by several people including Ray Tomlinson, who is credited with starting the use of '@' instead of a period in the email address.

9. The earlier interface was composed of all the basic functions like inbox, outbox, memo (To, From, Date, cc, bcc). However, the address was composed of a period '.' instead of '@'.

10. Currently, Ayyadurai, who has at various times been an entrepreneur (EchoMail) and engineer (Lotus), is the director of the Media and Organizational Biomimetics Initiative. He is also the author of The Email Revolution and has been credited and rewarded with several titles and awards.

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