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The Invention of Email by VA Shiva and What it Means to All of Us.
Read this Inspiring Article About VA Shiva’s Invention of One of the Most Important Developments in Human History.

The Invention of Email

In 1978, Dr. Leslie P. Michelson challenged VA Shiva Ayyadurai to create an electronic version of the interoffice paper-based mail system, and VA Shiva responded with 50,000 lines of code to create EMAIL, the world’s first email system. Prior to 1978, early pioneers in electronic messaging were not interested in creating email, as noted by David Crocker’s statement, “At this time, no attempt is being made to emulate a full-scale inter-organizational mail system.”[1] Furthermore, as Crocker noted “…the fact that the system is intended for use in various organizational contexts and by users of differing expertise makes it almost impossible to build a system which responds to all users’ needs.”[2]

What Shiva did in 1978 was the ”impossible” by creating “email”, a system that met the needs of all users. Email, as the name suggests, was the electronic version of the interoffice, inter-organizational paper-based mail system. At that time the only way to protect software was through Copyright as patents were not applicable to software. So, VA Shiva followed the governance procedures and filed for Copyrights, which he was granted. Recently, he donated the original sourcing materials and programming to the Smithsonian to mark the 30th anniversary of the invention of email. Read more about VA Shiva’s invention of email at

VA Shiva was interviewed recently on SBS Radio, Australia’s premier radio station on his invention of Email.. Listen to his podcast.

The Unfortunate Vitriol and Disinformation Campaign of “Historians”

Detail from the copyright awarded to VA Shiva in 1982 by the United States Copyright Office for EMAIL, the world’s first Email system.

Since the acceptance of VA Shiva’s work into the Smithsonian, a vocal minority of “historians,” with vested interests, have unleashed a deplorable attack on VA Shiva’s character and integrity to denigrate his invention of email. Dr. Michelson in reflecting on VA Shiva’s invention of email, states, “This is black & white. Shiva’s only crime was being a brilliant 14-year old kid. The facts clearly show that this 14-year-old invented email in Newark, NJ in 1978.” Over the recent past, the public is becoming increasingly aware of how such “historians” and “scholars” have used their positions as “intellectuals” to promote lies that further vested interests.

Recently, for example, it was revealed that Columbia professor Frederic S. Mishkin wrote a fallacious report on the investment in the economy of Iceland. Mishkin was paid by the Icelandic government to create this report and forwarded a wayward thesis of Iceland’s economy under the titled protectionism of academic titling.[3] In another recent event, Science Magazine reviewed a book which revealed that for nearly five decades, eminent scientists manipulated scientific data to show that tobacco smoke was not harmful.[4]

The PR Activity of “Historians”

In the case of the invention of email, so-called “historians” have attempted to manipulate the facts to support the multi-million dollar branding campaign of BBN, a subsidiary of Raytheon, a multi-billion dollar defense company that falsely claims it invented email. The PR activities of “historians” defame VA Shiva while promoting these vested interests’ false email history. Such deplorable actions promote a perspective that innovation can only occur in big universities, large companies, and the military. These PR activities of “historians” say that innovation is a coveted and prized outcome of an entitled group. This destructive and false narrative, on a more practical note, will not help to create the nearly 1.5 billion jobs that the world needs for the next decade.

What the Invention of Email Means to All of Us

The invention of email by VA Shiva reminds us that innovation is inherent to being a human being — innovation can take place any time, any where by any body. The facts on VA Shiva’s invention of email  provide an alternative narrative to the PR activities of “historians”. VA Shiva has begun Innovation Corps to prove that the invention of email in Newark, NJ by a 14-year-old was no fluke. Innovation Corps aims to proactively unleash innovation in inner cities, around the globe, to demonstrate that other “Shivas” can create innovations far grander than email.

[1] Crocker, David. Framework and Function of the “MS” Personal Message System. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, December 1977.

[2] Crocker, David. Framework and Function of the “MS” Personal Message System. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, December 1977.

[3] Mishkin, Frederic S. and Tryggvi T. Herbertsson. Financial Stability in Iceland. Stability in Iceland Screen Version.pdf

[4] Brandon, Thomas H. Big Tobacco Indicts Itself.

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