Tim Berners-Lee Proposes world wide web
The 12th of November 1990 AD
Our American cousins would have us believe they captured the Enigma machine ; won WWII alone; came up with the phrase “cruel and unusual punishment”; and invented the World Wide Web – Al Gore keen to garner kudos for his role in building “The information Super-Highway.” Wrong on all counts, and the world now recognizes Tim Berners-Lee as the brain behind the World Wide Web. Not only that, he is recognized as a great benefactor to mankind given he deliberately took no patent on the idea, preferring to make it freely available.
Berners-Lee, a graduate of The Queen’s College Oxford , worked at CERN in Geneva off and on from 1980. In that first year he proposed a project that would improve the rapidity and ease of information-sharing among the centre’s researchers and others by the use of HyperText. In 1989 the internet existed, but was clumsy and slow to use. Berners-Lee in March that year put together a basic proposal for using HyperText in conjunction with the internet. On November 12 he and Robert Cailliau, a Belgian engineer (who being Belgian sadly cannot de facto be famous) issued a formal detailed proposal for a project the acceptance of which initiated The Web.
Entitled “WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project,” the report’s abstract contained the following statement: “There is a potential large benefit from the integration of a variety of systems in a way which allows a user to follow links pointing from one piece of information to another one. This forming of a web of information nodes rather than a hierarchical tree or an ordered list is the basic concept behind HyperText.” Like all great ideas it was simple, readily understandable, and had massive implications.
In 2004 Berners-Lee, universally acknowledged as one of the greatest innovators and benefactors of the 20th century, was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire, the order’s second highest accolade. In 2008 Prince William - a junior army officer without combat experience - was appointed to the highest order of knighthood, the Order of the Garter. These facts are easy to check thanks to the existence of the World Wide Web.
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