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May 9, 2006

'Page of questions that people tend to ask for reports' — by Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web


It's one of the very informative and entertaining pages on his website.

A sample:

Q. Where were you when you invented the WWW?

A. I was working in a physics laboratory called CERN.

CERN is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Switzerland is near the middle of Europe.

At CERN, people study high-energy physics.

That is the physics of really really small particles - particles much smaller than atoms.

It turns out that if you want to investigate really really small things you need huge machines called accelerators to smash particles together really hard.

Then you have huge gadgets (about the size of a house) which detect what happens and what bits fly off so you can figure out whether you managed to make any new types of particle.

CERN is a big place - a few thousand people work there.

Many of them are scientists whose jobs are at universities in different places in the world, and they come to CERN because they need to use the huge accelerators at CERN.


Q. Why do you keep saying everything is so simple?

A. Well, because it is basically.

No, honestly....

I want you to know that you too can make new programs which create new fun ways of using computers and using the Internet.

I want you to realize that, if you can imagine a computer doing something, you can program a computer to do that.

Unbounded opportunity... limited only by your imagination.

And a couple of laws of physics.

Of course, what happens with computers is that you have a basic simple idea and then you have to add things on to it for practical reasons.

So real-world computer programs can end up with a lot of stuff in them.

If they are good, they are still simple inside.

May 9, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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