Timothy John Berners-Lee
8 June 1955
|Education||The Queen's College, Oxford (BA)|
|Known for||Invention of the World Wide Web|
(m. 1990; div. 2011)
|Children||2 children; 3 step-children|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
World Wide Web Consortium
University of Oxford
University of Southampton
Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee
Berners-Lee proposed an information management system on 12 March 1989 and implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet in mid-November. He devised and implemented the first Web browser and Web server, and helped foster the Web's subsequent explosive development. He is the founder and director of the
Berners-Lee is a senior researcher and holder of the
Early life and education
Berners-Lee was born on 8 June 1955 in London, England,
Career and research
After graduation, Berners-Lee worked as an engineer at the telecommunications company Plessey in Poole, Dorset. In 1978, he joined D. G. Nash in Ferndown, Dorset, where he helped create typesetting software for printers.
Berners-Lee worked as an
After leaving CERN in late 1980, he went to work at John Poole's Image Computer Systems, Ltd, in Bournemouth, Dorset. He ran the company's technical side for three years. The project he worked on was a "real-time remote procedure call" which gave him experience in computer networking. In 1984, he returned to CERN as a fellow.
In 1989, CERN was the largest Internet node in Europe and Berners-Lee saw an opportunity to join hypertext with the Internet:
— Tim Berners-Lee
Creating the web was really an act of desperation, because the situation without it was very difficult when I was working at CERN later. Most of the technology involved in the web, like the hypertext, like the Internet, multifont text objects, had all been designed already. I just had to put them together. It was a step of generalising, going to a higher level of abstraction, thinking about all the documentation systems out there as being possibly part of a larger imaginary documentation system.— Tim Berners-Lee
Berners-Lee wrote his proposal in March 1989 and, in 1990, redistributed it. It then was accepted by his manager, Mike Sendall, who called his proposals "vague, but exciting".
Berners-Lee published the first web site, which described the project itself, on 20 December 1990; it was available to the Internet from the CERN network. The site provided an explanation of what the World Wide Web was, and how people could use a browser and set up a web server, as well as how to get started with your own website. On 6 August 1991, Berners-Lee first posted, on Usenet, a public invitation for collaboration with the WorldWideWeb project.
In a list of 80 cultural moments that shaped the world, chosen by a panel of 25 eminent scientists, academics, writers and world leaders, the invention of the World Wide Web was ranked number one, with the entry stating, "The fastest growing communications medium of all time, the Internet has changed the shape of modern life forever. We can connect with each other instantly, all over the world."
In 1994, Berners-Lee founded the W3C at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It comprised various companies that were willing to create standards and recommendations to improve the quality of the Web. Berners-Lee made his idea available freely, with no patent and no royalties due. The World Wide Web Consortium decided that its standards should be based on royalty-free technology, so that they easily could be adopted by anyone.
In 2001, Berners-Lee became a patron of the East Dorset Heritage Trust, having previously lived in Colehill in Wimborne, East Dorset. In December 2004, he accepted a chair in computer science at the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Hampshire, to work on the Semantic Web.
In June 2009, then-British prime minister
In November 2009, Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF) in order to campaign to "advance the Web to empower humanity by launching transformative programs that build local capacity to leverage the Web as a medium for positive change".
Berners-Lee is one of the pioneer voices in favour of
Berners-Lee was honoured as the "Inventor of the World Wide Web" during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in which he appeared working with a vintage NeXT Computer. He tweeted "This is for everyone" which appeared in LED lights attached to the chairs of the audience.
Berners-Lee holds the founders chair in Computer Science at the
From the mid-2010s Berners-Lee initially remained neutral on the emerging
On 30 September 2018, Berners-Lee announced his new
In November 2019 at the Internet Governance Forum in Berlin Berners-Lee and the WWWF launched Contract for the Web, a campaign initiative to persuade governments, companies and citizens to commit to nine principles to stop "misuse", with the warning that "if we don't act now – and act together – to prevent the web being misused by those who want to exploit, divide and undermine, we are at risk of squandering [its potential for good]".
Awards and honours
"He wove the World Wide Web and created a mass medium for the 21st century. The World Wide Web is Berners-Lee's alone. He designed it. He loosed it on the world. And he more than anyone else has fought to keep it open, nonproprietary and free."
Berners-Lee has received many awards and honours. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2004 New Year Honours "for services to the global development of the Internet", and was invested formally on 16 July 2004.
On 13 June 2007, he was appointed to the Order of Merit (OM), an order restricted to 24 (living) members. Bestowing membership of the Order of Merit is within the personal purview of the Sovereign and does not require recommendation by ministers or the Prime Minister.
He was elected a
In 2012, Berners-Lee was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires to mark his 80th birthday.
In 2013, he was awarded the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. On 4 April 2017, he received the 2016 ACM Turing Award "for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale".
Berners-Lee has said "I like to keep work and personal life separate."
Berners-Lee married Nancy Carlson, an American computer programmer, in 1990. She was also working in Switzerland at the
Berners-Lee was raised as an
The web's source code was auctioned by Sotheby's in London during 23–30 June 2021, as a non-fungible token (NFT) by TimBL. Selling for US$5,434,500, it was reported the proceeds would be used to fund initiatives by TimBL and Leith.
- "Tim Berners-Lee". Department of Computer Science. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
- "Sir Tim Berners-Lee joins Oxford's Department of Computer Science". ox.ac.uk. University of Oxford. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
- "Tim Berners-Lee | MIT CSAIL". www.csail.mit.edu. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
- Foundation, Web (12 March 2019). "30 years on, what's next #ForTheWeb?". World Wide Web Foundation.
- "info.cern.ch – Tim Berners-Lee's proposal". cern.ch. Info.cern.ch. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- Tim Berners Lee's own reference. The exact date is unknown.
- "Timothy Berners-Lee Elected to National Academy of Sciences". Dr. Dobb's Journal. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
- "72 New Members Chosen By Academy" (Press release). United States National Academy of Sciences. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- Schorow, Stephanie (5 January 2007). "Draper Prize". mit.edu. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "People". The Web Science Research Initiative. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- "MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (homepage)". mit.edu. Cci.mit.edu. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- "MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (people)". Cci.mit.edu. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- Bratt, Steve (29 September 2011). "Sir Tim Berners-Lee Named to the Ford Foundation Board". World Wide Foundation. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- "Web's inventor gets a knighthood". BBC News. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
- "Creator of the web turns knight". BBC News. 16 July 2004. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
- "A. M. Turing Award". Association for Computing Machinery. 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- Quittner, Joshua (29 March 1999). "Tim Berners Lee—Time 100 People of the Century". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007.
- "Berners-Lee Longer Biography". w3.org. World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- Edgecliffe-Johnson, Andrew (7 September 2012). "Lunch with the FT: Tim Berners-Lee". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Berners-Lee's original proposal to CERN". w3.org. World Wide Web Consortium. March 1989. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- Stewart, Bill. "Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, and the World Wide Web". Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- Berners-Lee, Tim. "Frequently asked questions". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- Grossman, Wendy (15 July 1996). "All you never knew about the Net ...". The Independent.
- Berners-Lee, Tim. "Answers for Young People". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "Ten Years Public Domain for the Original Web Software". CERN. Archived from the original on 16 November 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
- "Welcome to info.cern.ch, the website of the world's first-ever web server". CERN. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "World Wide Web—Archive of world's first website". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "World Wide Web—First mentioned on USENET". 6 August 1991. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "The original post to alt.hypertalk describing the WorldWideWeb Project". Google Groups. 9 August 1991. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "80 moments that shaped the world". British Council. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Patent Policy—5 February 2004". World Wide Web Consortium. 5 February 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee wants 'personal empowerment' for users, through his data startup". The Boston Globe. 29 December 2020.
- Klooster, John W., (2009), Icons of Invention: the makers of the modern world from Gutenberg to Gates, ABC-CLIO, p. 611.
- "Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor, to join ECS". World Wide Web Consortium. 2 December 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "Berners-Lee 'sorry' for slashes". BBC. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
- "Tim Berners-Lee". World Wide Web Consortium. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- "Ordnance Survey offers free data access". BBC News. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
- FAQ—World Wide Web Foundation. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- Ghosh, Pallab (15 September 2008). "Web creator rejects net tracking". BBC. Retrieved 15 September 2008.
Warning sounded on web's future.
- Cellan-Jones, Rory (March 2008). "Web creator rejects net tracking". BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
Sir Tim rejects net tracking like Phorm.
- Adams, Stephen (March 2008). "Web inventor's warning on spy software". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 22 May 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
Sir Tim rejects net tracking like Phorm.
- Berners, Tim (December 2010). "Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality". Scientific American. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, and 19 other technologists pen letter asking FCC to save net neutrality". VB News. Retrieved 14 December 2017
- Friar, Karen (28 July 2012). "Sir Tim Berners-Lee stars in Olympics opening ceremony". ZDNet. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- Berners-Lee, Tim (27 July 2012). "This is for everyone". Twitter. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "State.com/about/people". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Computing, Government (23 May 2012). "Government commits £10m to Open Data Institute". The Guardian.
- Gibbs, Samuel (7 October 2013). "Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Google lead coalition for cheaper internet". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
- Weinberger, David, "How the father of the World Wide Web plans to reclaim it from Facebook and Google". Digital Trends, 10 August 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- "Sir Tim Berners-Lee joins Oxford's Department of Computer Science". UK: University of Oxford. 27 October 2016.
- "Sir Tim Berners-Lee joins Oxford's Department of Computer Science and Christ Church". UK: Christ Church, Oxford. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- McCarthy, Kieren (6 March 2017). "Sir Tim Berners-Lee refuses to be King Canute, approves DRM as Web standard". The Register. Situation Publishing. Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
- Cardoza, Christina (7 July 2017). "DRM concerns arise as W3C's Tim Berners-Lee approves the EME specification". SD Times. BZ Media LLC. Archived from the original on 30 May 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
- McCarthy, Kieren (18 September 2017). "DRM now a formal Web recommendation after protest vote fails". The Register. Situation Publishing. Archived from the original on 27 February 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
- "Tim Berners-Lee project gives you more control over web data". Engadget. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- "Exclusive: Tim Berners-Lee tells us his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web=Fast Company". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- CNA Staff (25 November 2019). "Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee launches plan to stop Internet abuse". Archived from the original on 25 November 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
- "Web inventor gets Queen's honour". BBC. 13 June 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "Fellowship of the Royal Society 1660–2015". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015.
- "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
- "Scientific pioneers honoured by The University of Manchester". manchester.ac.uk. 2 December 2008. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Yale awards 12 honorary degrees at 2014 graduation". Yale News, 19 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Harvard awards 9 honorary degrees", Harvard Gazette, 26 May 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Davies, Caroline (5 October 2016). "New faces on Sgt Pepper album cover for artist Peter Blake's 80th birthday". The Guardian.
- "Sir Peter Blake's new Beatles' Sgt Pepper's album cover". BBC. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
- "Sir Tim Berners-Lee Receives Inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, 2013". Web foundation.org. 18 March 2013.
- "Frequently asked questions by the Press – Tim BL". www.w3.org. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
- "Nancy Carlson Is Wed to Timothy Berners-Lee". The New York Times. 15 July 1990. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
- "Ms Rosemary Leith and Sir Tim Berners-Lee are delighted to announce that they celebrated their marriage on 20 June 2014...." World Wide Web Foundation.
- "Rosemary Leith". World Wide Web Foundation. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
- "VC firm Glasswing names Jibo, John Hancock execs to advisory board". www.bizjournals.com. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
- "Faces of the week". 26 September 2003 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
- Döpfner, Mathias. "The inventor of the web Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the internet, 'fake news,' and why net neutrality is so important". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
- "NFT representing Tim Berners-Lee's source code for the web to go on sale". theguardian.com. theguardian.com. 15 June 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
- "This Changed Everything: Source Code for WWW x Tim Berners-Lee, an NFT". sothebys.com. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
- "The web's source code is being auctioned as an NFT by inventor Tim Berners-Lee". cnbc.com. cnbc.com. 15 June 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
- Lawler, Richard (30 June 2021). "Sir Tim Berners-Lee's web source code NFT sells for $5.4 million". The Verge. VOX Media. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
- Tim Berners-Lee's publications
- Tim Berners-Lee and the Development of the World Wide Web (Unlocking the Secrets of Science) (Mitchell Lane Publishers, 2001), ISBN 1-58415-096-3
- Tim Berners-Lee: Inventor of the World Wide Web (Ferguson's Career Biographies), Melissa Stewart (Ferguson Publishing Company, 2001), ISBN 0-89434-367-Xchildren's biography
- How the Web was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web, Robert Cailliau, James Gillies, R. Cailliau (Oxford University Press, 2000), ISBN 0-19-286207-3
- Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web by Its Inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, Mark Fischetti (Paw Prints, 2008)
- "Man Who Invented the World Wide Web Gives it New Definition", Compute Magazine, 11 February 2011
- BBC2 Newsnight – Transcript of video interview of Berners-Lee on the read/write Web
- Technology Review interview
- Brooker, Katrina (August 2018). ""I Was Devastated": Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets". Vanity Fair.