Sir Timothy Berners-Lee OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, FRSA

Longer Biography

For those who want details for some reason. This is more or less a collection of everything which has been asked for to date.


In 1989, while working at at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, Tim Berners-Lee proposed a global hypertext project, to be known as the World Wide Web. Based on the earlier "Enquire" work, it was designed to allow people to work together by combining their knowledge in a web of hypertext documents. He wrote the first World Wide Web server, "httpd", and the first client, "WorldWideWeb" a what-you-see-is-what-you-get hypertext browser/editor which ran in the NeXTStep environment. This work was started in October 1990, and the program "WorldWideWeb" first made available within CERN in December, and on the Internet at large in the summer of 1991.

Through 1991 and 1993, Tim continued working on the design of the Web, coordinating feedback from users across the Internet. His initial specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined and discussed in larger circles as the Web technology spread.

Tim Berners-Lee graduated from the Queen's College at Oxford University, England, 1976. Whilst there he built his first computer with a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television.

He spent two years with Plessey Telecommunications Ltd (Poole, Dorset, UK) a major UK Telecom equipment manufacturer, working on distributed transaction systems, message relays, and bar code technology.

In 1978 Tim left Plessey to join D.G Nash Ltd (Ferndown, Dorset, UK), where he wrote among other things typesetting software for intelligent printers, and a multitasking operating system.

A year and a half spent as an independent consultant included a six month stint (Jun-Dec 1980) as consultant software engineer at CERN. Whilst there, he wrote for his own private use his first program for storing information including using random associations. Named "Enquire" and never published, this program formed the conceptual basis for the future development of the World Wide Web.

From 1981 until 1984, Tim worked at John Poole's Image Computer Systems Ltd, with technical design responsibility. Work here included real time control firmware, graphics and communications software, and a generic macro language. In 1984, he took up a fellowship at CERN, to work on distributed real-time systems for scientific data acquisition and system control. Among other things, he worked on FASTBUS system software and designed a heterogeneous remote procedure call system.

In 1994, Tim founded the World Wide Web Consortium at the then Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) which merged with the Artificial Intelligence Lab in 2003 to become the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is Emeritus Director and an Honorary Member of the Board of Directors of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards organization which develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential.

In 1999, he became the first holder of 3Com Founders chair at MIT. In 2008 he was named 3COM Founders Professor of Engineering in the School of Engineering, with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at CSAIL where he is now Professor Emeritus. He also lead the Decentralized Information Group (DIG). Co-Chaired by Dr. Lalana Kagal, the DIG Research Group works on projects including: how to re-decentralize the Web and help radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership; working to ensure the rights of users in big data and analytics and systems; as well as harnessing mobile technologies to aid during disaster relief and help society.

The Decentralized Information Group, works on the Solid Project to give people control of their own data and to re-decentralize the Web. He is the co-founder and CTO of inrupt, the company launched to ensure the success of the Solid platform and its open source community, and to build the ecosystem that supports it.

In 2016, Sir Tim joined the Computer Science Department at the University of Oxford as a Professor.

In 2009 he founded and became Director of the World Wide Web Foundation.  The Web Foundation is a non-profit organisation devoted to achieving a world in which all people can use the Web to communicate, collaborate and innovate freely.  The Web Foundation works to fund and coordinate efforts to defend the Open Web and further its potential to benefit humanity. 

In June 2009 then Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that he 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. Sir Tim was a member of The Public Sector Transparency Board tasked to drive forward the UK Government's transparency agenda.  He has promoted open government data globally, and was a member of the UK's Transparency Board. 

In 2011 he was named to the Board of Trustees of the Ford Foundation, a globally oriented private foundation with the mission of advancing human welfare. He is President of the UK's Open Data Institute which he founded with Sir Nigel Shadbolt in 2012 to catalyse open data for economic, environmental, and social value.

He is the author, with Mark Fischetti, of the 1999 book "Weaving the Web" on the the past present and future of the Web.

On March 18 2013, Sir Tim, along with Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreesen, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for "ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity."

On 4 April 2017, Sir Tim was awarded the ACM A.M. Turing Prize for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale. The Turing Prize, called the "Nobel Prize of Computing" is considered one of the most prestigious awards in Computer Science.


World Wide Web Hall of Fame
Kilby Foundation's "Young Innovator of the Year" Award
ACM Software Systems Award (co-recipient)
Honorary Prix Ars Electronica
Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society
Awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE)
IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award
Duddell Medal of the Institute of Physics
Interactive Services Association's Distinguished Service Award
MCI Computerworld/Smithsonian Award for Leadership in Innovation
International Communication Institute's Columbus Prize
Charles Babbage award
Mountbatten Medal of the National Electronics Council
Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Prize from the Foundation for Science and Technology
PC Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award in Technical Excellence
MacArthur Fellowship
The Eduard Rhein Technology Award
Honorary Fellow, Institution of Electrical Engineers
Named "One of the 100 greatest minds of the century" by Time Magazine
World Technology Award for Communication Technology
Honorary Fellowship, The Society for Technical Communications
Paul Evan Peters Award of ARL, Educause and CNI
Electronic Freedom Foundation's Pioneer Award
George R Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award, American Computer Museum
Special Award for Outstanding Contribution of the World Television Forum
Sir Frank Whittle Medal, the Royal Academy of Engineering
Fellow,Royal Society
Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Japan Prize, the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan
Prince of Asturias Foundation Prize for Scientific and Technical Research (shared with with Larry Roberts, Rob Kahn and Vint Cerf)
Fellow, Guglielmo Marconi Foundation
Albert Medal of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Art, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
The Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS)
Computer History Museum Fellow Award
Knighted (KBE) by H.M. the Queen for services to the global development of the Internet
Millennium Technology Prize
Special Award of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Member, American Philosophical Society
Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service for Mass Communications
Die Quadriga Award
Financial Times Lifetime Achievement Award
President's Medal, the Institute of Physics
Awarded the Order of Merit by H.M. the Queen
Charles Stark Draper Prize, National Academy of Engineering
Lovelace Medal, British Computer Society
D&AD President's Award for Innovation and Creativity
MITX (Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange) Leadership Award
Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Engineering
BITC Award for Excellence
IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award
Fellow, IEEE
Pathfinder Award, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences
Given the title of Royal Designer by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture nd Commerce
Webby Awards Lifetime Achievement Award
UNESCO Niels Bohr Gold Medal Award
The Mikhail Gorbachev Award
DAMA Web Awards, Bilbao Web Summit
Honorary Fellow, British Academy
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Internet Hall of Fame
Innovation 101 Lifetime Achievement Award
Sultan Qaboos Order for Culture, Science and Arts (First Class)
DNA Summit Lifetime Achievement Award
Shared the Queen Elizabeth II Prize for Engineering with Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreessen.
Visionary of the Year Award, Society for New Communication Research.
Honorary Freedom of the City of London
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute
Pride of Britain "Special Award for Outstanding Achievement"
Webby award for Lifetime Achievement
Public Knowledge IP3 Award
Bradford Wasburn Award, Museum of Science, Boston
Mohammed bin Rashid Knowledge Award (with Jimmy Wales)
Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize, Zurich, Switzerland
The 1st class Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, Republic of Estonia
John Maynard Keynes Prize
ACM A.M. Turing Prize, San Francisco, California
Seoul Peace Prize
Honorary Degrees:

Parsons School of Design, New York (D.F.A., 1995)
Southampton University (D.Sc., 1995)
Essex University (D.U., 1998)
Southern Cross University (PhD, 1998)
Open University (D.U., 2000)
Columbia University (D.Law, 2001)
Oxford University (D.Sc., 2001)
University of Port Elizabeth (DSc., 2002)
Lancaster University (D.Sc., 2004)
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Dr. Hon. 2008)
University of Manchester (D.Sc., 2008)
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid  (Dr. Hon. 2009)
University of Liege  (Dr. Hon. 2009)
VU University Amsterdam (Dr. Hon., 2009)
Harvard University (D.Sc., 2011)
University of the Arts, London (Dr. Hon., 2012)
University of St. Andrews (Dr. Hon., 2013)
Yale University, (Doctor of Engineering and Technology, 2014)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,  D.Sc

Selected Publications

Berners-Lee, T.J., et al, "World-Wide Web: Information Universe", Electronic Publishing: Research, Applications and Policy, April 1992.

Berners-Lee T.J., et al, "The World Wide Web", Communications of the ACM, Volume 37 Issue 8, August 1994, Pages 76-82

Tim Berners-Lee with Mark Fischetti, Weaving the Web, Harper San Francisco, 1999

Tim Berners-Lee, Dan Connolly, Ralph R. Swick "Web Architecture: Describing and Exchanging Data", W3C Note, 1999/6-7.

Berners-Lee, Tim. and Hendler, James "Publishing on the Semantic Web", Nature, April 26 2001 p. 1023-1025.

Berners-Lee, Tim; Hendler, James and Lassila, Ora "The Semantic Web", Scientific American, May 2001, p. 29-37.

James Hendler, Tim Berners-Lee and Eric Miller, 'Integrating Applications on the Semantic Web', Journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan,
Vol 122(10), October, 2002, p. 676-680

Hendler, J., Berners-Lee, T.J., and Miller, E., ' Integrating Applications on the Semantic Web ', Journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan, Vol 122(10), October, 2002, p. 676-680.

Nigel Shadbolt, Wendy Hall, Tim Berners-Lee, "The Semantic Web Revisited", IEEE Intelligent Systems Journal, May/June 2006, pp 96-101

Web Science Workshop Report, 12th-13th September, 2005. Hosted by the British Computer Society, London

Tim Berners-Lee, Wendy Hall, James Hendler, Nigel Shadbolt, Daniel J. Weitzner, Enhanced: Creating a Science of the Web, Science Vol. 313, 11 August 2006, pp. 769-771

Tim-Berners Lee, Wendy Hall, James A. Hendler, Kieron O'Hara, Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel J. Weitzner, A Framework for Web Science, Foundations and Trends in Web Science, Volume 1, Issue 1 (also available as a book: ISBN: 1-933019-33-6 144pp September 2006)

Nigel Shadbolt, Tim Berners-Lee "Web Science: Studying the Internet to Protect Our Future", Scientific American, Vol. 299, No. 4, P. 76, October 2008

Christian Bizer, Tom Heath, Tim Berners-Lee, "Linked Data - The Story So Far" (pdf), International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems (IJSWIS), 5(3): 1-22. DOI: 10.4018/jswis.2009081901, 2009

Tim Berners-Lee, "Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality", Scientific America, Vol. 22, November 2010

(See a full list of publications)


The Queen's College, Oxford University, England, BA Hons (I) Physics, 1973-1976.

Emanuel School, London 1969-73

Born London, England, 8 June 1955. Married to Rosemary Leith.

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