Sir Timothy Berners-Lee or also known as TimBL, is a computer scientist and an English engineer. He is currently a professor of computer science at the University of Oxford, and as well as at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. TimBL is popularly known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. His invention is the reason why we are able to get information in just one click and how we are able to connect with other people in different parts of the world today. Let us know more about Tim Berners-Lee’s contributions to our modern world.
Tim Berners-Lee’s Life, Education, and Career
It was on June 8, 1955, when Tim Berners-Lee was born in London, England, United Kingdom. His parents were Mary Lee Woods and Conway Berners-Lee who both worked in the first commercially built computer which was the Ferranti Mark 1. He also has a brother named Mike who’s an expert on greenhouse gases.
Tim attended Sheen Mount Primary School then from 1969 to 1973, went to attend southwest London’s Emanuel School. He was a keen railway enthusiast when he was younger that’s why he learned about electronics from playing with a model railway. From 1973 to 1976, he studied at the Queen’s College, Oxford where he received a first-class bachelor of arts degree in physics. During his college years, he made a computer out of an old television set that he got from a repair shop.
After he graduated college, Tim Berners-Lee worked as an engineer at Plessey which was a telecommunications company in Poole, Dorset. He then joined D.G. Nash in Ferndown, Dorset in 1978 where he helped in creating type-setting software for printers.
From June to December 1980, Tim worked as an independent contractor at CERN. While he was in Geneva, he proposed a project about the concept of hypertext to enable sharing and updating information among researchers. To be able to demonstrate this proposal, he created a prototype system which was called ENQUIRE.
He left CERN in late 1980 and worked at John Poole’s Image Computer Systems, Ltd, in Bournemouth, Dorset where he ran the company’s technical side for three years. He worked on a project called, “real-time remote procedure call”, that gave him experience in computer networking. Tim then returned to CERN in 1984 as a fellow.
CERN became the largest internet node in Europe in 1989 and that’s the time when Tim saw the opportunity to join hypertext with the internet.
The Creation of the World Wide Web
In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee wrote his proposal which was redistributed in 1990. His proposal was accepted by his manager Mike Sendall. He said that Tim’s proposal was vague but exciting. To create the World Wide Web, Tim used similar ideas to those underlying the ENQUIRE system, which was the first web browser he designed and built. His software also worked as an editor and it was called WorldWideWeb and CERN HTTPd short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol daemon was the first Web server.
The website was put online for the first time on August 6, 1991, and its address was info.cern.ch which ran on a NeXT computer at CERN. The website provided information on what the World Wide Web was and how people could use a browser and set up a web server, and as well as how to get started with your own website.
The invention of the World Wide Web was chosen by a panel of 25 scientists, academics, writers, and world leaders as the number one fastest growing communications medium of all time which has changed the shape of modern life forever.
Tim Berners-Lee founded the W3C or the World Wide Web Consortium in 1994 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is composed of different companies that are willing to create standards and recommendations for the improvement of the Web’s quality. His idea was made available for free with no patents and royalties due. The W3C decided that the Web’s standards should be based on royalty-free technology so that it could be adapted by anyone easily.
Berners-Lee became a patron of the East Dorset Heritage Trust in 2001 because he previously lived in Colehill in Wimborne, East Dorset. He then accepted a position in computer science in December 2004 to work on the Semantic Web at the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Hampshire.
Tim Berners-Lee’s Recent Works and Contributions
Tim Berners-Lee was announced in 2009 by the then-British prime minister, Gordon Brown that he would work with the UK government to help make data more open and accessible on the web.
He launched the World Wide Web Foundation in November 2009, with the goal of evolving the Web to empower humanity through launching transformative programs that would construct local capacity to power the Web as a medium for positive change.
On September 30, 2018, Tim Berners-Lee announced a new application made by open-source startup Inrupt which was called Solid. This application aims to give users more control over their personal data and it lets them choose where data would go, who’s allowed to see them, and which apps are allowed to see the data. Tim is one of the pioneer voices in favor of net neutrality. He expressed that ISPs should neither control nor monitor the browsing activities of customers without their expressed consent.
Tim Berners-Lee’s Awards
Throughout the years, Tim Berners-Lee has received many awards and honors. In the 2004 New Year Honors for services to the global development of the internet, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was formally invested on July 16, 2004.
He was appointed to the Order of Merit on June 13, 2007, which was an order restricted to 24 living members. In 2001, Tim was chosen as a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has also been conferred honorary degrees from different Universities around the world such as in Manchester, Harvard, and Yale.
Tim Berners-Lee was awarded the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in 2013. And on April 4, 2017, he received the 2016 ACM Turing Award for inventing the World Wide Web.
Tim Berners-Lee has indeed contributed big to our modern world. He invented the World Wide Web and created a mass medium for the 21st century. He designed it and shared it freely to the world, making our life and work today easier and faster.