Tim Berners-Lee

On this date in 1955, Tim Berners-Lee was born in London, England. He became interested in computers while he studied physics at Oxford University. After his graduation in 1976, Berners-Lee became a software engineer. While working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, he wrote a program called “Enquire.” “Enquire” allowed Berners-Lee to compile links to various files on his computer for personal use. The development of “Enquire” was integral to Berners-Lee’s proposal for the World Wide Web in 1989, allowing users to globally share information. Berners-Lee is responsible for helping invent some of the Internet’s most basic tools: the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and for creating the first Web server, Web browser and Web page. Berners-Lee is currently director of the World Wide Web Consortium at the Laboratory for Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also director of the W3 Consortium, which works to improve the World Wide Web.

Berners-Lee was raised in the Church of England, but began questioning religion as a teenager. He says that his rejection of religion “relieved a great tension” (quoted in The Telegraph, Mar. 30, 2008). He is now a Unitarian Universalist. On a 1998 Web page titled “WWW and UU and I,” Berners-Lee described the appeal of Unitarianism: “Unitarian Universalists . . . allow or even require their belief to be compatible with reason. They are hugely tolerant.”

“I rejected [Christianity] just after being ‘confirmed’ and told how essential it was to believe in all kinds of unbelievable things.” 

—Tim Berners-Lee, “WWW and UU and I,” 1998

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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