The Draper Prize

2007 Winner: Tim Berners-Lee

For developing the World Wide Web.


Sir Timothy J. Berners-Lee is a graduate of Oxford University, England. He holds the 3Com Founders chair and is a Senior Research Scientist at the Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and directs the World Wide Web Consortium, founded in 1994.

In 1989, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an Internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory. He wrote the first web client and server. In 1990 the program, "WorldWideWeb," was first made available within CERN in December, and on the Internet at large in the summer of 1991. Berners-Lee specifications of URLs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread.

In 2001, Berners-Lee became a fellow of the Royal Society. He has been the recipient of several international awards, including the Japan Prize, the Prince of Asturias Foundation Prize, the Millennium Technology Prize and most recently, Germany's Die Quadriga Award. In 2004, Berners-Lee was knighted by H.M. Queen Elizabeth. He is the author of “Weaving the Web.”

World Wide Web

While the Internet has made it possible to connect millions of computers worldwide, the World Wide Web has made those connections far more useful. At its heart, the Web is simply a flexible and user-friendly way of organizing information. Using the Web’s two primary tools – the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and browser software that displays information written in this language – users can create pages of data that contain links to other pages, either locally or on an external network. Because these links were simple to make and use, a mesh of interconnected pages quickly arose, leading to the edifice that today supplies users with an enormous array of information.