What did Tim Berner Lee do?

Early life

His parents worked on the world’s first commercially-built computer, Ferranti Mark-I. After graduating from school, Berners-Lee opted to study Science at Oxford University. He thought it might be more practical to study Science as it combined his interests in Electronics and Maths. In fact, it turned out to be more than just a pragmatic choice as it opened up a world of knowledge for him.

A love for trains

When he was 1, Berners-Lee went to a school located between two railway tracks. He used to encounter a lot of trains on his way, and he started trainspotting, an activity of watching trains and writing down the numbers each engine has. When he was in college, he even made a computer out of an old television set. He bought the set from a repair shop. And assembling the computer cost him only five pounds (approximately Rs 500.)

Bringing the world closer

While working at the European Laboratory for Particle-Physics (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, a 25-year-old Berners-Lee began tinkering with a software programme to connect the world. He worked with Belgian systems engineer Robert Cailliau to refine the proposal for a hypertext system, which eventually led to the creation of the World Wide Web. He also created the first web browser and editor. The world’s first website, http://info.cern.ch, was launched on August 6, 1991. It explained the World Wide Web concept and gave users an introduction to getting started with their own websites. Right from the start, Berners-Lee recognized that the Web could either be a boon or bane. According to his website, Berners-Lee hopes that the web can be used as a communication tool and can help people understand each other.

The future is Solid

Over the last few years however, there have been many instances of big tech companies using the Internet to infringe upon the privacy of their uses. Disappointed by this, in November 2020, Berners-Lee announced his comeback with a project to decentralize the Internet and secure the users’ privacy. His new project, Solid, aims to restore the control of the Internet to its users and “redirect” the Web to his original vision of a democractic and equal network of information. He stated on his website that the current web had became “a driver of inequality and division”. He doesn’t like the fact that his invention is now being ruled by a handful of tech giants who demand personal information from users in exchange for their services.

Oh really?

  • Burners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004.
  • In college, Berners-Lee built a computer out of an old television set.
  • The first website was info.cern.ch, hosted by CERN, on Tim’s desktop computer.
  • It is estimated today that just under 40% of the world’s population has Internet access.
  • Berners-Lee worked as a teacher at MIT in Boston.


Picture Credit : Google