Outstanding achievements of global significance in engineering science will, for the first time, be awarded today, 18 March 2013. With prize money of one million pounds the Royal Academy of Engineering this year honors the inventors of the Internet for their revolutionizing accomplishment. With this, the Queen Elizabeth Prize is the most highly endowed award in the field of engineering science worldwide.
In the early 1990s at the European Research Centre CERN, the British man, Timothy Berners-Lee, developed the HTML language, hypertext transfer HTTP, the first browser and the first web server. This represented the origin of the World Wide Web. Rather than patenting his ideas and technical solutions he made them freely available. Already in the early 1970s the US citizens, Robert Elliot Kahn and Vinton Cerf, and the French man, Louis Pouzin, developed the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP) which serve for data transmission and distinct addressing in modern Internet. With this they are regarded as the pioneers of internet. Marc Andreessen developed the early Mosaic-Browser, from which the widely used Netscape-browser system developed.
A high-ranking international jury selected the winner from the submitted nominations. Professor Reinhard Hüttl, as President of the National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech and as Scientific Executive Director of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is one of the jury members. "This prize can be seen as the Nobel Prize for Engineering Science. Every two years, the Royal Academy of Engineering, under the auspices of Queen Elizabeth II, awards breakthroughs in engineering science that change the world. Such a breakthrough is, of course, the internet which not only influences modern technology but also society worldwide."
Indeed Earth Science today is also no longer imaginable without the World Wide Web. "Modern Early Warning Systems such as the Tsunami Early Warning System GITEWS are based on an extremely fast data processing and, in particular, data transfer" explains Prof. Hüttl further. "But also the rapid development in modern geosciences is based, among others, on the fact that huge data amounts are, nowadays, available globally and within a minimum of time for the science community worldwide".
The prize will be handed over personally by the British Queen on 25 June within the framework of a festive ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. Prof. Hüttl with be attending the event: "I am looking forward to this event as with the Queen Elizabeth Prize, Engineering Sciences will finally experience the appreciation that corresponds to their value for society."