Robert Cailliau, the forgotten co-inventor of www!

rober cailliau bij curiokids

Two of them have developed the web: an Englishman named Tim Berners-Lee, and a brilliant Belgian scientist who has been forgotten, Robert Cailliau. How could we forget the name of a man behind the technology we use every day? Even the Britannica encyclopedia attributes the invention of the web to the English scientist, neglecting his Belgian colleague.

Robert Cailliau

Robert Cailliau, an engineer who has woven his net all over the world.

Robert Cailliau was born in Tongeren in 1947. He received his engineering degree from the University of Ghent. But wanting to level up his education, he went to study at the University of Michigan. He then moved to Switzerland where he was employed at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The research laboratories of CERN welcome European scientists. However, not everyone can be present at the same time. Communication is therefore complicated when it comes to sharing research results with colleagues who have returned to their country.

A solution to any problem.

This problem of remote communication disturbs our English Tim Berners-Lee. In 1989, he sought to gather around him people who could help him develop his “information management” project by creating computers smarter than us. If the idea sounds great today, at the time, nobody believed it, except our Belgian.

Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. Credential @ le CERN

On his side, Robert had long dreamed of creating a kind of library accessible from a computer. After all, not all of us have the opportunity to go to the library, and to search for hours in books to find information. If everyone could be equipped like this at home, information would be available within seconds. So much time saved!

The solution: create an intelligent computer that in two clicks gives us the answers to our questions, and allows us to communicate with others, remotely.

Simple, effective with the use of addresses.

Together, they develop a simple search system with “web” addresses, also called “hypertext”. In a simpler way, this means that by typing a few words, the computer offers us several links to click on. Simple right?

In addition, we also owe him the initial web logo.

Americans are stealing the web!

This brilliant internet project did not convince anyone in Europe at the time. What a stupid thing! Our leaders did not understand the value of Internet, even though they all use it today. Americans had understood how the Internet was going to revolutionize the world. They thus propose to Tim to develop his project in the USA. Robert is put aside.

The knowledge of humanity on his computer, but also false information.

Today, all information are available on internet. If today you can read articles on Curiokids, it is thanks to Robert Cailliau and his colleague!

However, the two scientists are also disappointed with what has become of the internet, as there is also a lot of false information (fake news), advertisements …

Internet in all schools in Europe!

Again, you must thank Robert Cailliau. In 1995, he developed a project with the European Commission with the aim of introducing the Internet to all schools. This made it easier for students to access information for their education.

Robert Cailliau

January 26, 1948