Tim Berners-Lee

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Timothy Berners-Lee
File:Tim Berners-Lee April 2009.jpg
Born 8 June 1955 (1955-06-08) (age 58)[1]
London, England[1]
Residence Massachusetts, USA[1]
Nationality British
Education The Queen's College, Oxford
Occupation Computer Scientist
Employer World Wide Web Consortium and University of Southampton
Known for Inventing the World Wide Web
Title Professor
Religious beliefs Unitarian Universalism
Parents Conway Berners-Lee, Mary Lee Woods
Tim Berners-Lee
Holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee, OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, FRSA (born 8 June 1955[1]), is a British engineer and computer scientist and MIT professor credited with inventing the World Wide Web, making the first proposal for it in March 1989.[2] On 25 December 1990, with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young student at CERN, he implemented the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet.

Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the Web's continued development. He is also the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, and is a senior researcher and holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).[3] He is a director of The Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI),[4] and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.[5][6] In April 2009, he was elected as a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, based in Washington, D.C. [7]


Early life

Tim Berners-Lee was born in London, England, on 8 June 1955, the son of Conway Berners-Lee and Mary Lee Woods.[8] He attended Sheen Mount primary school, and then went on to Emanuel School in London, from 1969 to 1973. He studied at The Queen's College, Oxford, from 1973 to 1976, where he received a first-class degree in Physics.[1]


File:Tim Berners-Lee.jpg
Tim Berners-Lee on 18 November 2005.

While an independent contractor at CERN from June to December 1980, Berners-Lee proposed a project based on the concept of hypertext, to facilitate sharing and updating information among researchers.[9] While there, he built a prototype system named ENQUIRE. After leaving CERN in 1980, he went to work at John Poole's Image Computer Systems, Ltd, in Bournemouth, England, but returned to CERN in 1984 as a fellow. In 1989, CERN was the largest Internet node in Europe, and Berners-Lee saw an opportunity to join hypertext with the Internet: "I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol and domain name system ideas and — ta-da! — the World Wide Web."[10] He wrote his initial proposal in March 1989, and in 1990, with the help of Robert Cailliau, produced a revision which was accepted by his manager, Mike Sendall. He used similar ideas to those underlying the Enquire system to create the World Wide Web, for which he designed and built the first Web browser, which also functioned as an editor (WorldWideWeb, running on the NeXTSTEP operating system), and the first Web server, CERN HTTPd (short for HyperText Transfer Protocol daemon).

The first Web site built was at CERN, and was first put on line on 6 August 1991. "Info.cern.ch was the address of the world's first-ever web site and web server, running on a NeXT computer at CERN. The first web page address was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, which centred on information regarding the WWW project. Visitors could learn more about hypertext, technical details for creating their own webpage, and even an explanation on how to search the Web for information. There are no screenshots of this original page and, in any case, changes were made daily to the information available on the page as the WWW project developed. You may find a later copy (1992) on the World Wide Web Consortium website." -CERN It provided an explanation of what the World Wide Web was, and how one could use a browser and set up a Web server.[11] [12] [13] [14]

In 1994, Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at MIT. It comprised various companies that were willing to create standards and recommendations to improve the quality of the Web. Berners-Lee made his idea available freely, with no patent and no royalties due. The World Wide Web Consortium decided that its standards should be based on royalty-free technology, so that they could easily be adopted by anyone.[15]

In 2001, Berners-Lee became a patron of the East Dorset Heritage Trust, having previously lived in Colehill in Wimborne, East Dorset, England.

In December 2004, he accepted a chair in Computer Science at the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, England, to work on his new project, the Semantic Web.[16]

In June 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Berners-Lee will work with the UK Government to help make data more open and accessible on the Web, building on the work of the Power of Information Task Force.[17]

He was also one of the pioneer voices in favour of Net Neutrality,[18] and has expressed the view that ISPs should supply "connectivity with no strings attached," and should neither control nor monitor customers' browsing activities without their express consent.[19]</blockquote>[20]</blockquote>

In a Times article in October 2009, Berners-Lee admitted that the forward slashes ("//") in a web address were actually "unnecessary". He told the newspaper that he could easily have designed URLs not to have the forward slashes. "There you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time," he said in his lighthearted apology.[21]

In November 2009, Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web Foundation in order to "Advance the Web to empower humanity by launching transformative programs that build local capacity to leverage the Web as a medium for positive change."


File:First Web Server.jpg
This NeXT Computer was used by Berners-Lee at CERN and became the world's first Web server.

Template:Infobox MTP laureate

Personal life

Berners-Lee had a religious upbringing, but left the Church of England as a teenager, just after being confirmed and "told how essential it was to believe in all kinds of unbelievable things". He and his family eventually joined a Unitarian Universalist church while they were living in Boston.[35]

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Berners-Lee biography at the World Wide Web Consortium
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Tim Berners Lee - Time 100 People of the Century". Time Magazine. http://www.yachtingnet.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/bernerslee.html. "He wove the World Wide Web and created a mass medium for the 21st century. The World Wide Web is Berners-Lee's alone. He designed it. He loosed it on the world. And he more than anyone else has fought to keep it open, nonproprietary and free." 
  3. "Draper Prize". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2007/draper-prize.html. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  4. http://webscience.org/about/people/
  5. MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (homepage)
  6. MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (people)
  7. "Timothy Berners-Lee Elected to National Academy of Sciences". Dr. Dobb's Journal. http://www.ddj.com/217200450. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  8. "Ancestry of Tim Berners-Lee". http://www.wargs.com/other/bernerslee.html. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  9. "Berners-Lee's original proposal to CERN". World Wide Web Consortium. March 1989. http://www.w3.org/History/1989/proposal.html. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  10. Berners-Lee, Tim. "Answers for Young People". World Wide Web Consortium. http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/Kids. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  11. "Welcome to info.cern.ch, the website of the world's first-ever web server". CERN. http://info.cern.ch/. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  12. "World Wide Web — Archive of world's first website". World Wide Web Consortium. http://www.w3.org/History/19921103-hypertext/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  13. "World Wide Web — First mentioned on USENET". Google. 6 August 1991. http://groups.google.co.uk/group/alt.hypertext/msg/06dad279804cb3ba?dmode=source&hl=en. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  14. "The original post to alt.hypertalk describing the WorldWideWeb Project". Google. 9 August 1991. http://groups.google.com/group/comp.archives/browse_thread/thread/9fb079523583d42/37bb6783d03a3b0d?lnk=st&q=&rnum=2&hl=en#37bb6783d03a3b0d. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  15. "Patent Policy - 5 February 2004". World Wide Web Consortium. 5 February 2004. http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy-20040205/. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  16. "Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor, to join ECS". World Wide Web Consortium. 2 December 2004. http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/news/658. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  17. "Tim Berners-Lee". World Wide Web Consortium. 10 June 2009. http://www.w3.org/News/2009#item98. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  18. "Web creator rejects net tracking". BBC. 15 September 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7613201.stm. Retrieved 15 September 2008. "Warning sounded on web's future." 
  19. "Web creator rejects net tracking". BBC. March 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7299875.stm. Retrieved 25 May 2008. "Sir Tim rejects net tracking like Phorm." 
  20. "Web inventor's warning on spy software". The Daily Telegraph. March 2008. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1581938/Web-inventor%27s-warning-on-spy-software.html. Retrieved 25 May 2008. "Sir Tim rejects net tracking like Phorm." 
  21. "Berners-Lee 'sorry' for slashes". BBC. 14 October 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8306631.stm. Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  22. "ICTlogy, review of ICT4D » Tim Berners Lee: doctor honoris causa". Open University of Catalonia. 10 October 2008. http://ictlogy.net/review/20081010-tim-berners-lee-doctor-honoris-causa/. 
  23. http://www.computerhistory.org/fellowawards/index.php?id=88
  24. "Millennium Technology Prize 2004 awarded to inventor of World Wide Web". Millennium Technology Prize. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070830111145/http://www.technologyawards.org/index.php?m=2&s=1&id=16&sm=4. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  25. "Web's inventor gets a knighthood". BBC. 31 December 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3357073.stm. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  26. "Creator of the web turns knight". BBC. 16 July 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3899723.stm. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  27. "Lancaster University Honorary Degrees, July 2004". Lancaster University. http://domino.lancs.ac.uk/info/lunews.nsf/I/2768F56EB38B32F780256ECC00404E69. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  28. "Three loud cheers for the father of the web". The Telegraph. 28 January 2005. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1482211/Three-loud-cheers-for-the-father-of-the-web.html. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  29. "Top 100 living geniuses" The Daily Telegraph 28 October 2007
  30. "Web inventor gets Queen's honour". BBC. 13 June 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6750395.stm. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  31. Timothy Berners-Lee IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award 2008. Accessed 11 Nov 2008.
  32. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid: Berners-Lee y Vinton G. Cerf - Doctores Honoris Causa por la UPM
  33. (Dutch) Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (22 July 2008). "Uitvinder World Wide Web krijgt eredoctoraat Vrije Universiteit". http://www.vu.nl/nl/Images/pb%2009.082%20Eredoctoraat_tcm9-94528.pdf. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  34. (Dutch) NU.nl (22 July 2008). "'Bedenker' wereldwijd web krijgt eredoctoraat VU". http://www.nu.nl/internet/2046688/bedenker-wereldwijd-web-krijgt-eredoctoraat-vu.html. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  35. Berners-Lee, Timothy (1998). "The World Wide Web and the "Web of Life"". World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/UU.html. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 

Further reading

External links

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