Edgar F. Codd is the father of the relational database. Born in 1923 in Portland, UK, he got his PhD at the University of Michigan. He received the 1981 Turing award for "his fundamental and continuing contributions to the theory and practice of database management systems."

His 1970 paper "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks" sparked a flurry of research in the field, and is partially responsible for why E2 even exists. The paper can be read by the public at http://www.acm.org/classics/nov95/

E. F. Codd is still actively involved in relational database research.