Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of World Wide Web, wins MacArthur

What’s it like to be the guy who actually invented the World Wide Web? As of June 1, Tim Berners-Lee is, among other things, a little richer. When the 29 MacArthur Fellowships for 1998 were announced, one of the celebrated no-strings-attached “genius grants” went to Berners-Lee, a self-effacing Brit who first envisioned an interlinked computer information system as far back as 1980. By the early ’90s, he had developed the building blocks we know today: the URL address, HTML language, Web server, and browser. Much honored (he was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire last year), Berners-Lee, 43, now oversees the standard-setting W3 Consortium—sort of a technical Supreme Court for the evolving medium—at MIT, and he may be the only person on the planet not trying to cash in on the Web. Still, that $270,000 windfall must look like a particularly nice set of 1s and 0s.