The Internet now has a Hall of Fame, nearly 30 years after what is considered its official birthdate, as on Monday, April 23, 2012, the first inductees were announced.
This is the inaugural class of Internet Society’s Hall of Fame. This group includes 33 of the people who were instrumental and influential in the development of the Internet, including World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee; Internet “fathers” Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf; and former director of DARPA Charles Herzfeld. Indeed, although many continue to make fun of him to this day, Al Gore was also inducted.
[Gore has been harangued for claiming to invent the Internet. However, he never actually said that. Instead, he said “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.” Perhaps it was stated in a rather obtuse way, but it wasn’t a claim that he created the Internet.]
Internet Society CEO Lynn St. Amour said the following in a statement:
“There are some extraordinary people who have helped make the Internet an unparalleled platform for innovation and communication, an engine for economic development and social progress that goes well beyond what we could have ever imagined. This program honors individuals who have pushed the boundaries to bring the Internet to life and made it an essential resource used by billions.
“This historic assembly of Internet visionaries, innovators, and leaders represents an extraordinary breadth of vision and work. While the inductees have extremely diverse backgrounds and represent many different countries, each individual has an incredible passion for their work.”
The list of honorees is indeed diverse. It includes inductees from nine different countries, including 11 with Ph.D.s, 11 who are published authors, one who is an Academy Award winner, and one who is a Nobel Prize Winner.
The inductees are divided into three categories. “Pioneers” who were instrumental in the early design of the Internet; “Innovators” who built on the Internet’s foundations; and “Global Connectors” who helped expand the Internet globally.
The Internet Hall of Fame awards gala was hosted in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition to the expected inductees, such as Vinton Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Linus Torvalds and Phil Zimmermann, there were surprises among the group, such as Craig Newmark, founder of the online classifieds site Craigslist, and the aforementioned Al Gore, who the Internet Society said was “a key proponent of sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion of and greater public access to the Internet.”
The full list of inductees can be found at the Internet Society’s Hall of Fame site.