Web, Internet inventors have cleaned up on awards

Berners-Lee, Cerf, Kahn are among most decorated technology innovators

The inventors of the World Wide Web and the Internet sprung their ideas on the public more than two decades ago - and the accolades haven't stopped since.

Tim Berners-Lee, who wrote the first Web client and server in 1990, is now one of the most decorated individuals in the high-tech field. And while the MIT professor and director of the World Wide Web Consortium hasn't gone the corporate route like Netscape co-founder Marc Andreeseen and other Web entrepreneurs, his accomplishments have not gone unrewarded monetarily either.

Gold medals, knighthood and $1M cash prizes: Being a tech pioneer is a real honor 

Not only was he been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 for "services to the global development of the Internet," but Sir Timothy has piled up these honors: Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award (2000), Marconi Prize (2002), Japan Prize (2002), Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows (2003), Finland's Millennium Technology Prize (2004) and National Academy of Engineering Draper Prize (2007).

The cash prizes associated with some of those awards add up: Roughly $100,000 for the Marconi, $600,000 for the Japan Prize, $500,000 for the Draper and about $1 million for the Millennium Technology Prize. A lot of money for a guy whose creation has led to a bunch of free Web browsers.

Next up for Berners-Lee: A Nobel Peace Prize? Word is that he and Internet pioneers Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn are among those nominated this year. (See: "Why there's no Nobel Prize in Computing")

Speaking of Cerf and Kahn, they haven't been slighted on the award front. Their development of Internet underpinnings TCP and IP in the 1970s has been recognized over and over and over in the years since.

2011 TIMELINE: The year in technology awards 

Both have received the EFF Pioneer Award (Kahn in 1992, Cerf in 1993), Marconi Prize (Kahn in 1994, Cerf in 1998), National Medal of Technology (1997), Draper Prize (2001), A.M. Turing Award (2004), Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005) and Japan Prize (2008). They've both been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2006) and Computer History Museum's Hall of Fellows (Cerf in 2000, Kahn in 2006). Cerf, Kahn, Berners-Lee and Internet pioneer Larry Roberts all won Spain's 2002 Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research. What's more, Kahn grabbed the 2010 ITU World Telecommunication and Information Society Award and 2006 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Medal. (See also: Cerf's take on winning so many awards)

Other big-time award collectors:

*Ethernet inventor Robert Metcalfe: ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award (1980), IEEE Medal of Honor (1996), EFF Pioneer Award (1996), IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (1998), National Medal of Technology (2003), Marconi Prize (2003), National Inventors Hall of Fame (2007), Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows (2008). Most recently, in May 2011, Metcalfe was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame, too.

*Public key cryptography pioneer Whitfield Diffie (often along with Martin Hellman and Ralph Merkle): EFF Pioneer Award (1994), Marconi Prize (2000), IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal (2010), Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows (2011).

SLIDESHOW: Whirlwind tour of technology’s top honors, awards and prizes

*Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (for technology, business and philanthropy): National Medal of Technology (1992), Honorary Knighthood: Commander of the Order of the Royal Empire (2005), Harvard University honorary degree (2007), Franklin Institute Bower Award for Business Leadership (2010), Silver Buffalo Award from Boy Scouts of America (2010).

Bob Brown has won a few journalism awards, though you'd never know it from his Twitter feed

Learn more about this topic

Why there's no Nobel Prize in Computing

Gold medals, knighthood and $1M cash prizes: Being a tech pioneer is a real honor 

The year in technology awards: 2011 timeline

Whirlwind tour of technology’s top honors, awards and prizes


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