Hero of the Day - Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee, OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, FRSA, DFBCS (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 Web's continued development. 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 2004, Berners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his pioneering work. In April 2009, he was elected a foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences. He was honoured as the "Inventor of the World Wide Web" during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, in which he appeared in person, working with a vintage NeXT Computer at the London Olympic Stadium. He tweeted "This is for everyone", which instantly was spelled out in LCD lights attached to the chairs of the 80,000 people in the audience.

Early life

Berners-Lee was born in London, United Kingdom (UK), one of four children born to Mary Lee Woods and Conway Berners-Lee. His parents worked on the first commercially-built computer, the Ferranti Mark 1. He attended Sheen Mount Primary School, and then went on to attend south west London's independent Emanuel School from 1969 to 1973. A keen trainspotter as a child, he learnt about electronics from tinkering with a model railway. He studied at The Queen's College of the University of Oxford from 1973 to 1976, where he received a first-class degree in physics.

Current work

In June 2009 then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Berners-Lee would work with the UK Government to help make data more open and accessible on the Web, building on the work of the Power of Information Task Force. Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt are the two key figures behind data.gov.uk, a UK Government project to open up almost all data acquired for official purposes for free re-use. Commenting on the opening up of Ordnance Survey data in April 2010 Berners-Lee said that: "The changes signal a wider cultural change in Government based on an assumption that information should be in the public domain unless there is a good reason not to—not the other way around." He went on to say "Greater openness, accountability and transparency in Government will give people greater choice and make it easier for individuals to get more directly involved in issues that matter to them."

In November 2009, Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web Foundation in order 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."

Awards and honours

This NeXT Computer was used by Berners-Lee at CERN and became the world's first web server
Main article: Awards and honours presented to Tim Berners-Lee
Berners-Lee has received many awards and honours.

He received a knighthood in 2004 when he was promoted to Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the New Year Honours "for services to the global development of the Internet", and was formally invested on 16 July 2004. On 13 June 2007, he received the Order of Merit, becoming one of only 24 living members entitled to hold the honour, and to use the post-nominals 'O.M.' after their name. (The Order of Merit is within the personal bestowal of The Queen, and does not require recommendation by ministers or the Prime Minister)

Personal life

He splits his time between homes in the UK and US.

Religious views

Berners-Lee was raised as an Anglican, but in his youth, he turned away from religion, and in his adulthood he became a Unitarian Universalist (UU). He has stated: "Like many people, I had a religious upbringing which I rejected as a teenager... Like many people, I came back to religion when we had children". He and his wife wanted to teach spirituality to his children, and after hearing a Unitarian minister and visiting the UU Church, they opted for it. He is an active member of that Church, to which adheres because he perceives it as a tolerant and liberal belief. He has also recognized the value of other faiths, stating: "I believe that much of the philosophy of life associated with many religions is much more sound than the dogma which comes along with it. So I do respect them."

Wikipedia: Tim Berners-Lee

Quotes

I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the TCP and DNS ideas and — ta-da!— the World Wide Web.
Answers for Young People
I think in general it's clear that most bad things come from misunderstanding, and communication is generally the way to resolve misunderstandings, and the Web's a form of communications, so it generally should be good.

I don't believe in the sort of eureka moment idea. I think it's a myth. I'm very suspicious that actually Archimedes had been thinking about that problem for a long time. And it wasn't that suddenly it came to him.

Web 1.0 was all about connecting people. It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.

Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.
Interview by Kris Herbst for Internet World (June 1994)

Now, if someone tries to monopolize the Web, for example pushes proprietary variations on network protocols, then that would make me unhappy.
Interview by Kris Herbst for Internet World (June 1994)

Anyone who slaps a ‘this page is best viewed with Browser X’ label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.
Technology Review (July 1996)

Cool URIs don't change
Title of 1998 document
It is the the duty of a Webmaster to allocate URIs which you will be able to stand by in 2 years, in 20 years, in 200 years.
Cool URIs don't change
Legend has it that every new technology is first used for something related to sex or pornography. That seems to be the way of humankind.
"The Guardian profile : Tim Berners-Lee"(12 August 2005)

When I invented the web, I didn't have to ask anyone's permission. Now, hundreds of millions of people are using it freely. I am worried that that is going end in the USA. … Democracy depends on freedom of speech. Freedom of connection, with any application, to any party, is the fundamental social basis of the Internet, and, now, the society based on it.
Let's see whether the United States is capable as acting according to its important values, or whether it is, as so many people are saying, run by the misguided short-term interested of large corporations.
I hope that Congress can protect net neutrality, so I can continue to innovate in the internet space. I want to see the explosion of innovations happening out there on the Web, so diverse and so exciting, continue unabated.
Berners-Lee T., Net Neutrality: This is Serious (June 2006)

What's very important from my point of view is that there is one web … Anyone that tries to chop it into two will find that their piece looks very boring.
As quoted in "US backing for two-tier internet" in BBC News (7 September 2007)

The Web does not just connect machines, it connects people.
Tim Berners-Lee Speech before Knight Foundation, (14 September 2008)

This is for everyone
Tweeted during his participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

We’ve lost a fighter. We’ve lost somebody who put huge energy into righting wrongs. There are people around the world who take it on themselves to just try to fix the world but very few of them do it 24/7 like Aaron. Very few of them are as dedicated. So of the people who are fighting for right, and what he was doing up to the end was fighting for right, we have lost one of our own. … We’ve lost a great person.
Eulogizing Aaron Swartz in "Remember Aaron Swartz" (18 January 2013)

Aaron is dead. Wanderers in this crazy world, we have lost a mentor, a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down, we have lost one of our own. Nurtures, careers, listeners, feeders, parents all, we have lost a child. Let us all weep.
Eulogizing Aaron Swartz in W3C Mailing list (12 Jan 2013)

When somebody has learned how to program a computer … You're joining a group of people who can do incredible things. They can make the computer do anything they can imagine.
From An Insight, An Idea with Tim Berners-Lee at 27:27 (25 January 2013)

Wikiquote: Time Berners-Lee

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