SIR Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web has transformed the world into a global village and revolutionised communication, business and travel.
But who is the man who made it all happen, and what is he doing now?
Who is Sir Tim Berners-Lee?
The computer scientist is best known for the unrivalled achievement of inventing the World Wide Web.
Credited by Time as one of the 100 greatest thinkers of the 20th century, Tim is a famously modest man who has admitted to feeling like “quite an ordinary person”.
He was born in London on June 8, 1955, to computer scientists Mary Lee Woods and Conway Berners-Lee.
His parents were trailblazers in their own right – working on the first ever commercially built computer, the Ferranti Mark 1.
As a child Sir Tim was a keen trainspotter, learning about electronics from messing around with a model railway.
From 1973 to 1976 he studied at Queen’s College in Oxford, where he gained a First Class degree in physics.
While still at college the ambitious student created a computer out of an old TV set that he’d bought from a repair shop.
Creating the web was really an act of desperation, because the situation without it was very difficult when I was working at CERN later. Most of the technology involved in the web, like the hypertext, like the internet, multifont text objects, had all been designed already. I just had to put them together. It was a step of generalising, going to a higher level of abstraction
Sir Tim Berners-Lee on inventing the World Wide Web
After graduating, Sir Tim worked as an engineer at a telecommunications company in Dorset before joining D.G.Nash in Ferndown, Dorset, where he helped create type-setting software for printers.
Later as a contractor at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) he worked on a project based on the concept of hypertext to facilitate sharing information among researchers.
After leaving CERN he went on to work at John Poole’s Image Computer Systems, giving him vital experience in computer networking.
In 1984 he returned to CERN as a fellow.
Berners-Lee married Nancy Carlson, an American computer programmer, in 1990 – she was also working in Switzerland, at the World Health Organization.
They had two children and divorced in 2011.
In 2014 he married Rosemary Leith, a Canadian internet and banking entrepreneur.
When did Sir Tim Berners-Lee invent the world wide web?
In March 1989, Berners Lee published a paper called ‘Information Management: A Proposal’.
In this he married up hypertext with the Internet to create a system for sharing and distributing information not just within a company, but globally.
This he named the World Wide Web.
He also created the first web browser and editor.
The world’s first website, http://info.cern.ch, was launched on August, 6, 1991.
It explained the World Wide Web concept and gave users an introduction to getting started with their own websites.
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What does Sir Tim Berners-Lee do now?
He also created the World Wide Web Foundation and is a senior researcher and holder of the 3Com founders chair, as well as holding numerous other positions.
In October 2016, he joined the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University as a professorial research fellow and as a fellow of Christ Church, one of the Oxford college.
In September 2018, Berners-Lee announced a new application made by open-source startup Inrupt called Solid, which aims to give users more control over their personal data and lets users choose where the data goes, who’s allowed to see certain elements and which apps are allowed to see that data.
Berners-Lee has been awarded a whole smorgasbord of awards, including the 2016 ACM Turing Award for inventing the World Wide Web.
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