visionaries

Internet and World Wide Web visionaries ponder surviving world war

Vannevar Bush World Wide Web visionaryThe old proverb necessity is the mother of invention is illustrated in the ideas of Internet and World Wide Web visionaries J.C.R. Licklider and Vannevar Bush. The difficult scenario that was the catalyst of their visionary ideas was surviving a war.

Vannevar Bush looks beyond World War II

Vannevar Bush was looking at the aftermath of World War II and looking at ways to make sure all the scientific data and lessons learned were not lost when he published an Atlantic Monthly article in 1945 titled "As We May Think." The article describes his theoretical machine called a "memex" that would be able to make links between documents. Many people point to "As We May Think" as the earliest published vision of the concept of hypertext.

Bush worked hard during entire life to strengthen the relationship between government, business, and the scientific community. In the 1930s, as the president of the Carnegie Institution Bush informally advised the government on scientific matters. In 1938 Vannevar Bush was appointed to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. In 1940 Bush felt the country needed a new organization to conduct military research and proposed his plan to President Roosevelt. The National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) was created with Bush as the chairman. Vannevar Bush represented the overall scientific community as the first presidential science adviser. In 1941 the newly created Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) absorbed the NDRC. As director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Bush oversaw much of the United States’ wartime scientific research including the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb.

Although Bush is most remembered for "As We May Think," another Bush article from 1945 entitled, "Science-The Endless Frontier" was equally influential. Bush outlined the importance of federally funded scientific research and called for a national research foundation. The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created in 1950 to support fundamental research and education in science and engineering.

Who invented the world wide web?

Tim Berners-Lee defines the world wide webAlmost universally you will find references that state that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide. According to the World Wide Web Foundation, "Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989." But is it that simple?

Like any use of the word invention, it is rarely a simple process of one person creating something new entirely from scratch. Let's define the world wide web and its components.

What is the World Wide Web?

Many people use the term internet interchangeably with "the web" or "world wide web." The internet is the information super highway, the infrastructure on which we travel. Web browsers and web servers make up the world wide web, the vehicle we use to travel on the highway.

Anything one man can imagine other men can make real

True geek visionary Jules VerneIn the modern media of the 21st century people often complain that the news seems to focus on problems rather than solutions. As we study geek history we find many examples of the news media telling what can't be done while someone was in the process of showing us what is possible.

In the 1870s there were three different inventors working on the technology to transmit speech electrically that would become our telephone system. Thankfully they did not believe what they read in the newspaper back then.

In 1865 an editorial in the Boston Post stated that, "Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value."

A New York news item from 1868 reports
, "A man has been arrested in New York for attempting to extort funds from ignorant and superstitious people by exhibiting a device which he says will convey the human voice any distance over metallic wires so that it will be heard by the listener at the other end. He calls this instrument a telephone. Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires."

Jules Verne was a true inventor and visionary

There were many people who could look into the future and see what was possible, such as a true visionary Jules Verne, who was quoted in 1865 as saying, "In spite of the opinions of certain narrow-minded people who would shut up the human race upon this globe, we shall one day travel to the moon, the planets, and the stars with the same facility, rapidity and certainty as we now make the ocean voyage from Liverpool to New York."

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