CERN:The world's first website went online 25 years ago today
Published 21/12/2015 | 14:39
Today the world's first website turns 25 years old. Created by 60-year-old British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1990, while he was a researcher at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the website still exists today.
The site's address is info.cern.ch, and provides information about the world wide web - the platform that sits on top of the Internet, where documents and pages on the Internet can be accessed by URLs, and connected to each other via hyperlinks, like this.
"When we link information in the web, we enable ourselves to discover facts, create ideas, buy and sell things, and forge new relationships at a speed and scale that was unimaginable in the analogue era," Sir Berners-Lee has written.
That simple idea - the link - has transformed politics, overthrown governments, led to the invention of today's best known global businesses, and irrevocably changed our social interactions with the world.
When Berners-Lee created the first website, the “internet” was a group of static documents, used almost exclusively by defence organisations and academic institutions.
His proposal was supposed to allow electronic documents on the internet to be easily searched and shared.
Today, he is a passionate advocate of the open web and net neutrality - the principle that all information on the Internet should be equally accessible to users, regardless of their source.
In particular, he has publicly campaigned against censorship of the web by governments.
He has also called for a new model of privacy on the web, where people legally own all their data on the web, so it cannot be used without their permission.
Meanwhile, CERN has evolved from an organisation studying computing and networking, to a cutting-edge particle physics laboratory. In 2013, scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the Higgs Boson at CERN, which "marks the culmination of decades of intellectual effort by many people around the world,” said CERN's Director-General Rolf Heuer.
If you visit CERN today, you can see the orginal NeXT computer on which Sir Berners-Lee built the very first website, with the label hand-written in red ink: "This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER DOWN!!"