Mlolinis of pleope anourd the wrlod hvae been aezmad by the lesatt czare swpenieg the web.

A message like this, with its initially meaningless letters, has been forwarded via countless emails to friends and colleagues in the past week.

The first and last letters of a word remain the same but the others are placed randomly.

Despite its apparent incoherence, the muddle is automatically deciphered by the reader's brain into a sentence.

The bizarre phenomena was discovered by a Sussex scientist almost 30 years ago - but the groundswell in the use of computers and the internet have made it worldwide news once more following a letter in a science magazine.

In the past few days, there has been a mania of using scrambled words on web sites - much to the surprise of the man who discovered the concept 27 years ago.

Dr Graham Rawlinson was working on his PhD looking at the way the brain understands words.

He discovered the brain could pick up the letters without it mattering where they were within the word.

Dr Rawlinson, 54, said: "At the time, there was some research into what the process is for recognising words.

"We had a computer and I could jumble letters quickly so there were a whole new set of experiments we could do.

"The theory was shape of words was so important - with parts of letters sticking up and parts sticking down. But we found if you changed the shape of the word you could still read it.

"I did about 36 experiments to test every possibility. There was an article in the New Scientist recently about the recognition of sounds and I wrote a letter containing some text similar to that going round the internet now about my research in 1976.

"It has gone bang."

The email now circulating reads:

"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae.

"The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.

"Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. ceehiro."

Dr Rawlinson, who lives near Billingshurst, said he had received emails containing the jumbled phrase.

He now works as an inventor and is planning to set up an inventors' club.

Anyone interested in joining can contact Dr Rawlinson at