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Somehow it took him thirty years to alert the world to [his] greatest achievement".
Haigh wrote that by 1980, "electronic mail had been in use at MIT for 15 years, Xerox had built a modern, mouse-driven graphical email system for office communication, Compuserve was selling email access to the public, and email had for many years been the most popular application on what was soon to become the Internet." David Crocker, a member of the ARPANET research community, writing in the Washington Post said "The reports incorrectly credited [EMAIL's] author, a 14-year old in the late 1970s, as the 'inventor' of email, long after it had become an established service on the ARPANET." Another computer historian, Marc Weber, a curator at the Computer History Museum, said that by 1978, "nearly all the features we're familiar with today had appeared on one system or another over the previous dozen years", including emoticons, mailing lists, flame wars, and spam.
Ayyadurai is notable for his controversial claim to be the "inventor of email", based on the electronic mail software called "EMAIL" he wrote as a New Jersey high school student in the late 1970s.
Shiva Ayyadurai is an Indian-born American scientist and entrepreneur.
In a followup to its acquisition announcement, the Smithsonian stated that it was not claiming that Ayyadurai had invented email, but rather that the materials were historically notable for other reasons related to trends in computer education and the role of computers in medicine.
The Smithsonian statement distinguished Ayyadurai's achievement by noting that historians in the field, "have largely focused on the use of large networked computers, especially those linked to the ARPANET in the early 1970s".
His undergraduate degree from MIT was in electrical engineering and computer science; he took a master's degree in visual studies from the MIT Media Laboratory on scientific visualization; concurrently, he completed another master's degree in mechanical engineering, also from MIT; and in 2007, he obtained a Ph. in biological engineering from MIT in systems biology, with his thesis focusing on modeling the whole cell by integrating molecular pathway models.
Biddle quoted Tomlinson: "[We] had most of the headers needed to deliver the message (to:, cc:, etc.) as well as identifying the sender (from:) and when the message was sent (date:) and what the message was about." Biddle allowed for the possibility that Ayyadurai may have coined the term "EMAIL" and used the header terms without being aware of earlier work, but maintained that the historical record isn't definitive on either point.
Biddle wrote that "laying claim to the name of a product that's the generic term for a universal technology gives you acres of weasel room.
The museum initially—inaccurately—cited the program as one of the first to include the now common "subject and body fields, inboxes, outboxes, cc, bcc, attachments, and others.
He based these elements directly off of the interoffice mail memos the doctors had been using for years, in hopes of convincing people to actually use the newfangled technology." Ayyadurai's claims drew editorial clarifications and corrections, as well as criticism from industry observers.