History of the World Wide Web

A presentation about the history and pre-history of the WWW, from the 1940’s to 1994.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


April 20, 2007 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)

swissnex kindly invites you for a lecture by James Gillies, Head of Communications at CERN, Switzerland, about the history and the pre-history of the World Wide Web, covering the period from the 1940’s to 1994.

James Gillies is Head of Communications at CERN, the world’s largest laboratory dedicated to fundamental physics research, and the place where Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. James began his career in physics and holds a doctorate from Oxford University. From 1989 to 1992, the period when the Web was invented, he was working on an experiment at CERN as a researcher of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK. From there he moved to Paris, where he was Head of Science at the British Council’s French office. James joined the CERN communication group in 1995. In 1999, he co-authored a book called ‘How the Web was Born’ with Robert Cailliau, Tim Berners-Lee’s first collaborator on the Web project. James has been Head of CERN’s Communication group since 2003. He’s married with three daughters.


6:30 pm doors open
7:00 pm lecture by James Gillies
7:45 pm hors-d’oeuvre and networking
8:30 pm doors close

Amazon.com book review by Rob Lightner:

“It’s hard to believe that there was a time–not long ago–when the digital fairyland of commerce, soapboxing, and pornography called the World Wide Web was just a file-sharing tool for nerds, but there’s a first time for everything. How the Web Was Born, by CERN’s James Gillies and Robert Cailliau, follows the trail from the dawn of ARPANet through the mid-90s, just as the Web boom was beginning to take off in earnest. That may seem like an odd ending point, but the post-1995 story has already been told ad nauseam, and the writers know how to quit while they’re ahead. The story is told from widely varying viewpoints and across shifting timelines as the various players are introduced and observed; this adds some complexity to the narrative, but yields a truer picture of the team efforts required to devise and launch the Web. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Marc Andreesen, Tim Berners-Lee (of course), and many more, figure prominently in the interwoven tales, and are briefly summarized in an abridged cast list at the end of the book, along with a paper and electronic bibliography. The book assumes some knowledge and interest on the part of the reader and saves its big-picture context for the end, but provides reader motivation both by its subject’s inherent interest and the recurrent personalization of the story. Neither textbook nor CERN propaganda, How the Web Was Born offers an engagingly networked collection of characters that, like their invention, creates something larger than the sum of its parts.”


Photo: Myleen Hollero