In 1971, Ray Tomlinson was a recent MIT graduate hired to help build the earliest components of Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the precursor to the internet. Tinkering on his own, he decided to build a networked messaging program. Most computers at the time allowed users to message one another, but as so few computers were networked, there was little reason to send messages across computers. Tomlinson hacked together a solution, using the now-ubiquitous @ symbol to indicate networked email. Four decades later, email seems less an invention than an innate aspect of our digital environment. On the occasion of his induction into the Internet Hall of Fame, Tomlinson talked to us about the birth of email, the future of communication technology, and how he feels about spam.