(OE 1966-1973)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, OE, was knighted in 2004 for services to the global development of the internet and received the first Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in 2013.

Tim fondly remembers Emanuel teachers Francis Grundy (Maths) and Derek Pennell (Chemistry), who inspired him to pursue a career in Science. He studied Chemistry, Maths, Double Maths and Physics at A level before going on to study Physics at the University of Oxford. He found the Boat Club a welcome escape from his studies.

It was while working as a software engineer at CERN in 1989 that Tim devised a new way for scientists to easily share data from their experiments and documents with one another in a virtual system. In 1990, the now-known World Wide Web – the earliest version of this system – was born.

The Web, as I envisaged it – we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.

Tim encouraged CERN to make the technology openly available to all, and so on 6th August 1991 he put the instructions and code in the public domain so that anybody could create a website. According to Internet World Stats, 54.5% of the world’s population was online as the year changed from 2017 to 2018.

Tim is now looking into how the internet can be more accessible and affordable, focusing his energy on developing an accessible, unmonitored and democratic web. He intends to build a better web for everyone by supporting the free flow of information and ideas all over the world.