Timothy John Berners-Lee

For folks who thank the heavens every day for the invention of the internet, you should also start thanking the heavens for the man that invented the Internet (or the World Wide Web). The man who is responsible happens to be a British scientist Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, FRSA, OM, FREng, KBE, DFBCS. Online, he goes by the name “TimBL.” This person had a major hand in developing the WWW and you will learn more about him now.


Who is TimBL?

As mentioned earlier, Tim Berners-Lee is a scientist from Britain that helped bring about the WWW. Berners-Lee submitted a proposal back in March 1989 and it was about a system for information management. He was also the first man to ever successfully communicate between an HTTP server and client with the use of the internet around November of that same year.

The W3C is directed by Berners-Lee. This W3C oversees the continued development of the WWW. He is also one of the directors of the WSRI and one of the members of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence advisory board. He also founded the World Wide Web Foundation and is an esteemed senior researcher and holder of Founders Chair which is located at the CSAIL.

In the year 2004, TimBL was granted knighthood by the Queen of England to honor his outstanding work on the development of the Internet. In April of 2009, the US National Academy of Sciences elected him as a foreign associate. He was also given the honor and title of “Inventor of the World Wide Web” back in 2012 when they were holding the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics. He was there to accept it because he was there using a NeXT Computer (a rather old computer model) right inside the stadium. He even tweeted “this is for everyone” and it was spelled out on LCD lights so that all the attendees could see.

The Early Life of Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee entered the world in England in Southwest London back in June 8, 1955. His parents were named Mary Lee Woods and Conway Berners-Lee; he had three siblings. The Berners-Lee couple worked with the very first ever commercial computer which was the FerrantiMark1 so you could say that computers were his legacy.

He went to the Sheen Mount Primary school then proceeded to Emanuel School in south west London from 1969 to 73. As a kid, he was a very keen train-spotter and learned all about electronics and tinkered with his model railway. He enrolled at the University of Oxford at The Queen’s College from 1973 to 76. He received a degree in physics (first class) when he finished his studies.

The Career of Tim Berners-Lee

After he graduated and got his degree, he was an engineer at a Plessey telecom located in Poole. However, in 1978 Tim Berners-Lee went to work for D.G. Nash in Dorset and this was where he had a hand in creating type-setting software to be used for printing machines.

From June to December in 1980, he worked for CERN as an independent contractor. While he was there, he made a proposal for a project based on what is known as hypertext. It was to be used to make sharing and updating of information shared by researchers easier and more convenient. He came up with a prototype system he called ENQUIRE to demonstrate how it would work.

After he left CERN in the late 1980, he went on to land a job at John Pooles Computer Systems LTD which was also located in England. He was the man in charge of the technical side of the company for a good 3 years. He worked on a project called “real time remote procedure call” and this gave him a taste of computer networking. For years after, he went back to CERN but as a fellow.

Five years after, in 1989, CERN was known as the largest internet node in the European continent and it was then that Tim saw his chance to meld HTTP with the Internet. He came up with his first proposal in March of 1989. A year after he was helped by Robert Caillau to come up with revisions his manager, Mike Sendall, would accept. He made use of similar ideas that were present in his ENQUIRE system to create the WWW. He even designed the very first ever web browser and his software also worked as an editor. The system was named Worldwide Web and it ran on using the NeXTSTEP OS. The very first web server was named CERN HTTPd. It comes as no surprise that the very first website ever was built at CERN and was published on August 6, 1991 and its address was info.cern.ch. It was both a web server and site. A NeXT computer located at CERN was used to run it. The site contained information about Berners-Lee’s project so visitors could glean information about HTTP and get other details about building webpages so they could make their own.

In 1994, Sir Berners-Lee founded the W3C at MIT and it was made up of different companies that were willing to work together to uphold the quality of the Web and also to make improvements as well. What is great about this Knight is that he made sure his ideas were available to anyone who wanted them and that they can be obtained without paying royalty fees.

His Current Work

Back in June 2009, British PM Gordon Brown made the announcement that TimBL would be working with the government so they could make data more accessible and open to people that needed it. In fact he and a professor named Nigel Shadbolt are two of the main figures behind the site data.gov.uk.

He is also one of the voices that are in favor of Net Neutrality and their main cry is that Internet Service Providers should be able to supply connectivity to users with no strings attached and that they should not monitor the activities of online behavior of their subscribers. Last October 2013, the Alliance for Affordable Internet was launched and he is the leader of public and private coalitions that include such companies like Facebook and Google.