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Internet inventor's boss was not impressed

It is hard to imagine life without the internet. But the idea didn’t take off immediately. The founder of the internet has just received the Niels Bohr gold medal in Copenhagen

»Vague, but exciting«.

This was his boss’ lukewarm reaction to the hypertext proposal. But Timothy Berners-Lee was persistent:

»I needed the system and was fed up not having it«, he says.

Life without the internet seems unimaginable. But working as a consultant at the massive underground nuclear laboratory CERN in Switzerland, Berners-Lee was in a place for physics experiments, not software experiments.

Gold medal

Things could easily have gone another way, and everyone would have stayed offline.

But they didn’t, and everyone is on the net.

Berners-Lee is in Copenhagen to receive the Niels Bohr gold medal award from the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters together with two other renowned scientists:

Have internet and have not

John Pendry for his work on materials with exceptional optical properties – they have been used for camouflage and invisibility cloaks. And Kip Thorne for his contribution to the understanding of black holes and gravitational waves.

»The goal of the internet was that everybody could work anywhere, anytime«, explains Berners-Lee, who is now considered the father of the internet. With twenty percent of the world’s population using it, that goal seems realistic.

But it is not only roses, Berners-Lee told the audience. The internet made a gap between users and non-users.

Now Berners-Lee is the founder of an organisation called the World Wide Web, which tries to alleviate negative consequences and uses the internet as a medium to empower people.

So what’s the future of the internet?, the University Post asked him afterwards.

»In the short term, it is things like internet on your mobile phone, but in the long term, it’s up to the people«, he says.

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