Tim Berners-Lee (1955-)

A British computer scientist and physicist, and inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee was born in London and educated at Emanuel School, London and Queen’s College, Oxford, where he studied physics.


After working for two Dorset-based firms, Plessey Telecommunications and Image Computer Systems, he started working as an independent consultant and spent six months at CERN in 1980. While there he wrote a program based on the concept of ‘hypertext’, which was to facilitate the sharing and updating of information among researchers, but which would prove to be the conceptual basis for the development of the World Wide Web.


After leaving CERN, Berners-Lee worked in Bournemouth, back in England, but returned to CERN as a fellow in 1984. In 1989 he saw an opportunity to connect hypertext with the internet, and together with colleague Robert Cailliau wrote a successful funding proposal. The first website was built at CERN and went online in 1991.


In 1994, Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community of member organisations, staff and individuals working together to create standards and raise the quality of the web.


Berners-Lee continues to champion the use of the web to make information more open and accessible. Since 2009 he has worked with the UK government to bring more data into the public domain.