The World Wide Web “Internet” Turns 20!

It is hard to believe but the World Wide Web turned twenty on August 6th, 2011. On this date in 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is credited for creating and distributing the first page on the World Wide Web. Unknown to him at the time would be how revolutionary the concept was and how quickly it would change the world forever. The birth of the Internet is one of the greatest modern wonders of the world.

"I’m often asked if I had any clue at the time of the first web site at SLAC of how dramatically the web would affect society. I certainly did not and I wonder how many did"

At the time of the WWW’s inception, Berners-Lee was a scientist working at CERN. Here is the first web page that was created

CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The name is an acronym for the French Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or European Council for Nuclear Research, which is a provisional body that was founded in 1952. CERN’s mandate was to establish a world-class fundamental physics research organization in Europe. CERN is a community that now includes about 60 countries and about 8000 scientists.

"It’s rather like, did Gutenberg or Bell or Marconi really realize at the time the impact on history of their inventions? I suspect not."

The Web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information sharing between scientists working in different universities and institutes all over the world. The basic idea of the WWW was to merge the technologies of personal computers, computer networking and hypertext into a powerful and easy to use global information system.

Analogous to the birth of Rock and Roll in the 50s. many at the time were unsure if the WWW was just "another fad" and suspected that it wouldn’t last long. But like the invention of the telephone or the printing press, the new technology was accepted en masse and within twenty years has gone from a handful of static pages in select universities and government offices, to a dynamic, world-influencing system that has brought about global economic and political changes. The Intetnet has showcased the best and the worst in human society.

For those of us that remember the squelches and screams emanating from a 9600 baud dial-up modem to connect to the internet and remember when pages first started incorporating images for the first time, watching the creation and development of the internet around the world will be a poignantly defining moment in our history. From the days of mIRC and MMOs to streaming media and interactive communications around the world; we’ve come a long way baby!

For a huge repository of archived pages from the early days of the internet, visit The Internet Archive.

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