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Tim Berners-Lee

2003 Fellow

For his seminal contributions to the development of the World Wide Web.


Biography

World Wide Web browser-editor, 1993
World Wide Web browser-editor, 1993

Tim Berners-Lee was born in London, England, in 1955. He holds a B.A. in physics from Oxford University (1976).

While working as an independent contractor at the European high-energy physics laboratory (CERN) in 1980, Berners-Lee built a prototype system for document sharing among researchers based on hypertext called ENQUIRE. In 1989, he had a new proposal, written with the help of Robert Cailliau, based on combining hypertext with the Internet, which he called the "World Wide Web." The world's first website, at CERN, went online August 6, 1991.

The Web proposal was based on a system of globally unique identifiers for resources, the HTML publishing language, and the use of HTTP. The turning point came in 1993 with the introduction of the free Mosaic web browser, which allowed images to be displayed alongside text, unlike the other hypertext systems then in existence. That same year, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to everyone.

In 1994, Berners-Lee left CERN and founded the World Wide Web Consortium at MIT, a group of member organizations, including vendors, willing to create standards for the Web. In 2004, he was knighted for his pioneering work.