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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Princess of Asturias Awards


Messages in support of the candidature of Martin Cooper and Raymond S. Tomlinson


Excerpts from some of the letters supporting the candidature of Martin Cooper and Raymond S. Tomlison for the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research:

"Ray Tomlinson did indeed implement the first networked electronic mail for the ARPANET around 1971. Electronic mail had been around before that but only worked between users sharing the same time-shared computer. Ray's idea was to make this work between computers that were connected by the Internet. This was in some ways an unexpected development and proved to be one of the most immediate and lasting applications on the Internet. Today, email is still a key communication tool although it has now been joined by texting, tweeting and instant messaging as additional tools for keeping in touch with friends and familiy".

Vinton Cerf, 2002 Prince of Asturias Award Laureate for Scientific and Technical Research.

"It gives me a great pleasure to second the nomination of Martin Cooper and Ray Tomlinson for their pioneer developments in mobile phone and email. Their research is an example of excellence in Applied Science and Technology. Their discoveries revolutionized the telecommunications. The personal portable cell phone and the email have been two of the most transformational devices deployed in the history of humankind. The ability of the device and its related infrastructure to enable communications anytime and anywhere has helped to satisfy a significant human longing to be in touch with loved ones, friends, service providers, business associates, research associates, ... It has become an indispensable part of life for virtually everyone on the planet".

Leo Esaki, 1973 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics and Chairman of The Science and Technology Promotion Foundation of Ibaraki (Japan).

"I wish to offer the strongest possible support for the nomination of Martin Cooper and Ray Tomlinson for the Prince of Asturias Award. Martin Cooper and the engineers who worked for him patented the first handheld cellular phone and enabling calls to be made on a handheld mobile phones. It was his vision that led to personal handheld telephone communication. Ray Tomlinson among other major advances wrote a file-transfer program to send files via ARPANET. Tomlinson also produced the first program which sent messages to other users of time-sharing computers and added code so that messages could be sent to users on other computers -he thus invented email.

Their inventions of the mobile phone and email are some of the most technologically significant innovations of all times. Because Martin Cooper and Ray Tomlinson have made such massive contributions to society and the resulting profound social impact I give them my strongest support for this prestigious Award".

 Sir Harold Kroto, 1996 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry.

"Today, the world has reached 4 billion mobile subscribers and over 1.6 billion internet users, an achievement that could not be reached with the traditional phone. This revolutionary achievement is only due to the exemplary research in Applied Science and Technology by Martin Cooper and Ray Tomlinson.

In my capacity as Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, I consider these discoveries as the key elements for achieving the Millenium Development Goals that will enable every citizen of the planet to exercise their right to communicate".

 Hamdoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommucation Union (ITU). 

"Concerning Ray Tomlinson, email was the very first application that exploited the power of Internet. Without this killer application, it is doubtful that other more powerful services we know today such as the Web would have ever existed. As the first building block of the new Information and Communication Technologies, it has played a critical role in the whole history.

Concercing Martin Cooper, mobile phones have transformed the world and the way we work, meet and communicate in the Developed World, but this is nothing compared to the impact it is having in Developing Countries. For the first time in their lives, hundreds millions of people in Africa, Latin America or South-East Asia are now able to communicate with their friends, their families, their potential customers, their providers... More importantly, mobile phone is not only a person-to-person communication device, but also a platform for accessing new Information and Communication Technologies, in particular the Web.

Mobile phones are the best hope to bring the benefits of the Web to Developing Countries, and this has been largely demonstrated in the last few years. Using these devices, people are now able to access and use ICT-based services that are really improving their lives. People have now access to banking services where there is no bank, to health services where there is no hospital and to agriculture services where there is no expertise. For the first time in the history, thanks to mobile phones, it is now possible to imagine solving the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations Organization, and I believe that Martin Cooper should be recognized that making that possible".

 Stephane Boyera, Head of Mobile Web for Social Development Group, W3C World Wide Web Consortium.

"I would like to support Martin Cooper and Ray Tomlinson for the 2009 Prince of Asturias Award for their pioneer developments in mobile phone, wireless communications and email.

Mobile telephony and email have changed, for the better, the way people learn, work, communicate, and secure their livelihoods. It is no longer possible to think of creative and sustainable responses to human, social and economic development challenges without utilising the potential of these tools and technologies".

 Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of Association for Progressive Communications (South Africa).

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