Millions of emails get sent internationally everyday, they connect people, enable love across the borders, keep families in touch, and help billions of dollars of trade. So, isn’t it strange that nobody seems to know where the world’s first transatlantic email was sent from?
I had read somewhere that the first transatlantic email had been sent from the University of Sussex campus. But nobody knew about this important event. Using Danny Hope‘s iPhone in the pub afterwards, finding the information took ages, because of a total lack of any web pages mentioning it. But luckily I found a reference to it in a obituary in the The Daily Telegraph.
According to the article, in September 1973 Professor Dick Grimsdale and a group of American academics sent the world’s first transatlantic email message from the University of Sussex campus. This press release locates the event to a computer in a lecture room in the Engg 2 building. The computer was linked with a network of inter-connecting mainframe computers in the USA.
At the same conference, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn presented a paper called “A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection” (pdf). This paper laid the foundation for TCP/IP which is bedrock for how the internet works. TCP/IP is the language that computers on the Internet talk to each other.
In the UK, we have a tradition of placing a blue plaque, on buildings where somebody famous lived, or an important event happened. This post is to gather support for a blue plaque to be erected on the Engg 2 building on University of Sussex campus to commemorate the sending of the world’s first transatlantic email. If you agree, or disagree please put your name into the comments at the end of this post, stating your support, or non support, and we will start the ball rolling.
Post Updated with a photo of Engg II building by Graham McAllister.
Update II spoke with English Heritage and found out that they only do plaques inside London, outside it is done by the local council.