A MASSIVE science lab in Geneva will be livestreamed in a few hours for the relaunch of the world’s largest atom breaker, but that’s not CERN’s only fame.
The European Council for Nuclear Research, or CERN for short, also has notable ties to the invention of the internet.
Did CERN create the Internet?
The Internet was indeed created by a British scientist at CERN in 1989.
But the organization is not limited to the mega-laboratory where the Large Hadron Collider sits underground in Geneva, on the Franco-Swiss border, ready to be lit.
CERN exists as a vast network of over 10,000 scientists in over 100 countries around the world.
So Tim Berners-Lee came up with the idea of the Internet to help these scientists from universities and institutes around the world to share their information, discoveries and research.
He wanted to combine the technologies of personal computers, networks and hypertext into a global information system – and the rest is history.
What is INQUIRE?
Berners-Lee wrote his first proposal for the Internet at CERN in 1989, but refined it with Belgian systems engineer Robert Cailliau the following year.
However, the scientist had already created one of the first predecessors of the World Wide Web in 1980 under the name INQUIRE.
The software project was a simple hypertext program that Berners-Lee named after an old how-to book, Find out inside about everything.
However, INQUIRE was not quite what the Internet inventor had envisioned, and he returned to CERN in 1984 to work on the system.
He realized that he wanted the World Wide Web to be similar to this prototype “but accessible to everyone”.
Who are Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau?
Tim Berners-Lee was the mastermind behind the Internet at CERN and is well known as the inventor of the World Wide Web.
Today, he is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Professorial Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.
Over the years, he has been crowned with numerous awards and accolades, including a Queen’s Knighthood in 2004 and a Turing Award in 2016.
In 1999, he was named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.
Robert Cailliau collaborated with Berners-Lee on the World Wide Web and created his iconic WWW logo.
The Belgian proposed the first hypertext system for CERN in 1987, which would develop the Internet as we know it.
He also organized the first international conference on the World Wide Web at CERN in 1994.
The event brought together 380 web pioneers and marked a real turning point in the development of the internet.
In addition to being a renowned computer scientist, Cailliau is also the author of the book How the Web Was Born In 2000.
He took early retirement in 2007 after devoting his time to public communications.