The World Wide Web: Jubilee Science

How Tim Berners-Lee revolutionised the way we share information and ideas...
07 June 2022


An infographic showing different smart devices, all connected to a cloud


Over the course of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, undoubtedly one of the biggest ways in which our day to day lives have changed has been the way we interact with each other.

Calls, messaging, the sharing of information, graphics, videos, all things we do on a daily basis over the World Wide Web.

Even her majesty herself has been utilising modern conveniences in the carrying out of her duties over Zoom recently.

In 1989, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee built on work computer scientists in the United States had been doing on the internet to turn it from a method for sharing information between scientists in private institutions, to the public open standard that it is today.

To clarify, his innovation was to create the world wide web, which is not the same thing as the internet.

The internet is the way computers connect to each other to share information, using a global system of networks that use the Internet protocol suite, a kind of network of networks. Back when the internet was first being used, computers were directly linked to each other, whereas nowadays computers most commonly connect to a network to be redirected where the user wants to go.

Tim Berners-Lee saw the opportunity to combine this incredible innovation of sharing information between computers with another nifty technique of his era: hypertext.

Hypertext is a piece of text which contains a link to another piece of text, or code, which a web browser can then translate into the graphics and words for the user to view the new page or site on their interface.

Berners-Lee’s intuition was that it would be better if we could browse the web in a similar fashion to the way our brains actually work in real life: not always in linear thought progression, but with links between ideas in multiple directions, that then link to other things, perhaps far from the original thought, like a web. By linking pages within a website, or by taking you to other websites as you encounter new ideas brought on by your experience on the original site, hyperlinks allow the web to imitate the way the brain works and build connections.

He new the power of his invention, for the incredible opportunity it provides to people across the world to share ideas, to the danger it might pose to the way our democracies function, and has been campaigning to see his creation used for good to this day.

As we progress further into an era where many people are experiencing a significant portion of their lives through the internet, his warnings to remain vigilant in the use of this incredible tool is as relevant as it ever was.


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