Late last week, the Washington Post reported that The Smithsonian had acquired “tapes, documentation, copyrights, and over 50,000 lines of code from V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, who both the Smithsonian and the Washington Post insisted was the “inventor of e-mail.” There’s just one problem with this: It’s not actually true. … As is nicely summarized on Wikipedia’s talk page about Ayyadurai, he was responsible for “merely inventing an email management system that he named EMAIL,” which came long after email itself.
Either way, it appears that Ayyadurai has played up this idea that he’s the inventor of email, despite little to back that up (apparently frustrating many people who actually know the history). Yes, he copyrighted a particular bit of code, but there’s little to support the idea that he had very much to do with “the invention of email” in any way.
Can you think of any other “inventions” where the wrong people received the credit?
Photo by Javier Aroche