Biographies

Tim Berners-Lee : Inventor of World Wide Web

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955), also known as TimBL, is an English computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He made a proposal for an information management system in March 1989, and he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet sometime around mid-November of that same year.

Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the continued development of the Web. He is also the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, and is a senior researcher and holder of the founders chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He is a director of the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI), and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. In 2011, he was named as a member the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation.

Quick facts

FULL NAME :  Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee

FAMOUS AS : Inventor of the World Wide Web

NATIONALITY : British

BORN ON : 08 June 1955 AD

BIRTHDAY : 8th June

DIED AT AGE : 61 Years

SUN SIGN : Gemini

PLACE OF BIRTH : London

SPOUSE:  Rosemary Leith

EDUCATION: 1976 – The Queen’s College, Oxford
1973 – Emanuel School

FOUNDER/CO-FOUNDER:  World Wide Web Consortium, World Wide Web Foundation

DISCOVERIES / INVENTIONS: World Wide Web, Hypertext Transfer Protocol, HTML, Web Browser


Major Works

His invention, the World Wide Web, is counted among the most significant inventions of the 20th century. The web revolutionized the world of information and technology and has opened up several new avenues.

Early Life and Education

  • He was born on June 8, 1955, as Timothy Berners-Lee to Mary Lee Woods and Conway Berners-Lee. He has three siblings. Both his parents worked on the first commercially-built computer, the Ferranti Mark I and thus Tim was fascinated by computers from a young age.
  • He received his primary education from Sheen Mount Primary School before moving on to London’s independent Emanuel School where he studied from 1969 to 1973.
  • He enrolled at The Queen’s College of the University of Oxford in 1973 and graduated in 1976 with a first-class degree in physics.

Carrier

  • He was appointed as an engineer at the telecommunications company, Plessey in Poole after completing his studies. He remained there for two years, working on distributed transaction systems, message relays, and bar code technology.
  • He left Plessey in 1978 and joined D. G. Nash Ltd. In this job he wrote typesetting software for intelligent printers and a multitasking operating system.
  • In the late 1970s he began working as an independent consultant and worked for many companies, including CERN where he worked from June to December 1980 as a consultant software engineer.
  • While at CERN he wrote a program called “Enquire” for his own personal use. It was a simple hypertext program which laid the conceptual foundation for the development of the World Wide Web in future.
  • He started working at John Poole’s Image Computer Systems, Ltd. in 1981. For the next three years he worked on the company’s technical side which enabled him to gain experience in computer networking. His work included real time control firmware, graphics and communications software, and a generic macro language.
  • He returned to CERN in 1984 after receiving a fellowship there. During the 1980s thousands of people were working at CERN and they needed to share information and data with each other. Much of the work was done by email and the scientists had to keep track of different things simultaneously. Tim realized that a simpler and more efficient method of data sharing had to be devised.
  • In 1989, he wrote a proposal for a more effective communication system within the organization which eventually led to the conceptualization of the World Wide Web—an information sharing system that could be implemented throughout the world.
  • The world’s first ever website, Info.cern.ch, was built at CERN and put online on 6th August 1991, ushering in a new era in the field of communication and technology. The site provided information of what the World Wide Web was and how it could be used for information sharing.
  • He established the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994. The W3C decided that its technologies should be royalty-free so that anyone could adopt them.
  • He became a professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, UK, in December 2004. There he worked on the Semantic Web.
  • In 2006, he became the Co-Director of the Web Science Trust which was launched to analyze the World Wide Web and devise solutions to optimize its usage and design. He also serves as the Director of the World Wide Web Foundation, started in 2009.
  • Along with Professor Nigel Shadbolt, he is one of the key figures behind data.gov.uk, a UK Government project to make non-personal UK government data more accessible to the public.

Personal Life & Legacy

  • He met Jane while studying physics at Oxford and married her soon after graduation in 1976. This marriage, however, ended in a divorce.
  • While working for CERN he became acquainted with Nancy, an American software engineer. They so fell in love and tied the knot in 1990. This marriage too ended after some years.
  • Currently he is married to Rosemary Leith who he wed in June 2014.

Awards & Achievements

sir_tim_berners-lee

  • He was presented with The Software System Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in 1995.
  • He was named as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century by the Time Magazine in 1999.
  • He was made the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the New Year Honours “for services to the global development of the Internet” in 2004.
  • In 2013, he became one of five Internet and Web pioneers awarded the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Quotes and Sayings by Tim Berners-Lee

Sites need to be able to interact in one single, universal space.
The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing.
You affect the world by what you browse. 

Some Unknown Facts About Tim Berners-Lee

  • Time Berners-Lee made the first communication between an HTTP (Hypertest Transfer Protocol) client and server through the internet in November 1989. He invented the World Wide Web.
  • He received a knighthood in 2004 from Queen Elizabeth II.
  • He is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) a group set up to oversee the development of the World Wide Web.
  • He was honoured during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
  • He was born on 8th June 1955 in London.
  • In 2001, Tim Berners-Lee became a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • He was a very keen trainspotter when he was a child and he enjoyed playing with model railways.
  • He has admitted that the pair of slashes (//) in web addresses ended up being unnecessary. He said he could have designed URLs without them, but didn’t realise at the time.
  • He was one of Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Important People of the 20th Century’.
  • He is sometimes referred to as TimBL.

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