June, 1955, in London.


The eldest child of two mathematicians, Tim studied at London's Emanuel School and at Queen's College, Oxford, where he relaxed by rowing on the Thames. In 1976, he took first-class honors in physics.


It was a rush job, cobbled together at Oxford using an old TV set and a microprocessor from Motorola. Berners-Lee needed the PC quickly because he was banned from using Oxford's computer. He and a friend were nabbed hacking it.


On a fellowship as a database engineer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, he tracked the comings and goings of international scientists--and in his spare time, invented the World Wide Web.


While he hasn't been on the stage in years, Berners-Lee played bit parts at Geneva's English Drama Society during his days at CERN. Favorite role was Nana, the nursemaid dog in Peter Pan. "We threw candy to the kids, and we had six people flying through Never-Never Land on ropes," he recalls.


Berners-Lee married Nancy Carlson, an American software analyst and little-theater enthusiast, in 1990. They have two children. His parents, now retired, are famous in British computer-industry lore for their work in the 1950s on the Ferranti Mark I, Britain's first commercial computer.


In 1998, Berners-Lee received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" of $270,000. The next year, 3Com endowed a $2 million chair for him at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Last year, he won the Japan Prize, worth $380,000.

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