American Philosophical Society
Member History

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Residency
Resident[X]
Class
1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences[X]
Subdivision
107 (1)
1Name:  Sir Tim Berners-Lee
 Institution:  World Wide Web Consortium; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Year Elected:  2004
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  107
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1955
   
 
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee received his B.A. from the Queen's College, Oxford University, in 1976 and was named "Young Inventor of the Year" by the Kilby Foundation in 1995. In 2007 he was awarded the Charles Stark Draper Prize ("engineering's Nobel Prize") and the Order of Merit, one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious honors. He won both the Turing Award and the Commonwealth Award in 2017. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 2009. Tim Berners-Lee designed the World Wide Web to fill a particular need at the CERN laboratory, where he worked from 1984-94. Some of the high energy experiments at CERN are very large, often with more than 1,000 physicists from many countries participating. In March 1989, he completed a project proposal for a system to communicate information among researchers in the CERN High Energy Physics department, which was intended to help those having problems sharing information across a wide range of different networks, computers, and countries. The project had two main goals. The first was Open Design: that the hypertext system have an open architecture and be able to run on any computer being used at CERN, including Unix, VMS, Macintosh, and Windows. The second goal was that the system be distributed over a communications network. In the fall of 1990, Berners-Lee took about a month to develop the first web browser on a NeXT computer, including an integrated editor that could create hypertext documents. He deployed the program on his and a colleague's computers, and they were both communicating with the world's first web server at info.cern.ch on December 25, 1990. Luckily, CERN had been connected to the ARPANET through the EUnet in 1990. In August 1991, he posted a notice on the alt.hypertext newsgroup about where to download their web server and line mode browser, making it available around the world. Very shortly, it was everywhere. In a fateful decision that significantly helped the web to grow, Berners-Lee managed to get CERN to provide a certification on April 30, 1993 that the web technology and program code were in the public domain so that anyone could use and improve them. Because of this, the World Wide Web is available to everyone at no cost.
 
Election Year
2004 (1)