It’s hard to believe, but the public Internet, the World Wide Web, turned 20 Tuesday. On April 30, 1993, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, announced it was making the World Wide Web technology freely available to the public. The technology spread around the globe like wildfire, and now it’s hard to imagine an aspect that is not, in some way, influenced by the Web.
“There is no sector of society that has not been transformed by the invention, in a physics laboratory, of the Web”, said Rolf Heuer, CERN director-general in a statement. “From research to business and education, the web has been reshaping the way we communicate, work, innovate and live. The web is a powerful example of the way that basic research benefits humankind.”
The Web was invented by British physicist Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in 1989, and was originally conceived as a method for physicists around the world to share information.
Prior to the web, information was shared over the Internet in less user-friendly ways such as WAIS and Gopher. Berners-Lee developed the Web software using a NeXT computer, created by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
CERN is marking the anniversary with a project to restore the first Web site and “preserve the digital assets that are associated with the birth of the Web.”