December 31, 2003
Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the world wide web, was awarded a knighthood for services to the internet, which his efforts transformed from a haunt of computer geeks, scientists and the military into a global phenomenon.
In 1989, while working at Cern, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Sir Tim proposed a method of allowing people to link electronic documents using a system called hypertext.
Two years later, he wrote the first web browser to view and edit the documents - now called web pages - and developed the first web server to make them available to all on websites.
Sir Tim's inventions were the building blocks of the internet, but instead of cashing in on what would have been one of the most lucrative inventions ever, the modest, publicity-shy physicist gave away his browser and web server software freely on the internet.
Other internet pioneers have accrued multi-million-pound fortunes, but Sir Tim has fought to ensure that the web was never privately owned, earning a modest salary in Boston as an academic and head of the World Wide Web Consortium, which sets web standards.