June 8 – Happy Birthday Tim Berners-Lee

Posted on June 8, 2016

Did today's famous birthday invent the internet?

Not quite. The internet is a network of networks....It contains millions of private and public computers in academic, business, and governmental institutions as well as in people's homes.

What Tim Berners-Lee invented is the World Wide Web!

I already wrote about the World Wide Web in one of last year's posts – check it out for more on the difference between the internet and the “www” – but now I want to look at Lee's life and ask how he ended up creating something so important to the whole world!

Berners-Lee was born on this date in 1955 in London, England. His parents worked on the first commercially-built computer, the Ferranti Mark 1.

As a kid, Berners-Lee loved trains and all things railroad. He learned about electronics from tinkering with model railways. Years later, he decided to study physics at university.

When he graduated from university with a first-class degree in physics, Berners-Lee stared to work as an engineer for a telecommunications company. He worked on creating software for particular applications. While working as an independent contractor to CERN, he came up with the idea of using hypertext to make sharing and updating information easier. He built a prototype that could be used among the CERN scientists. In some ways, this prototype didn't work all that well; Berners-Lee came up with some ways to vastly improve the system.

* Here is Berners-Lee talking about his next big innovation! 

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