News / Science & Technology

New Award Could Become Nobel for Engineering

New Award Could Become Nobel for Engineeringi
X
June 28, 2013 4:08 PM
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has launched a global prize for engineering that some people involved hope will become the engineering equivalent of the Nobel Prize for scientific achievement. The queen presented the first award to five men who invented the Internet and developed the ways one third of the world’s population uses it. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
New Award Could Become Nobel for Engineering
Al Pessin
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has launched a global prize for engineering that some people involved hope will become the engineering equivalent of the Nobel Prize for scientific achievement. The queen presented the first award to five men who invented the Internet and developed the ways one third of the world’s population uses it.

At Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth presented her first ever Prize for Engineering, including one million British pounds, to Americans Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf, and Frenchman Louis Pouzin for inventing the Internet’s basic protocols.  They shared the award with Britain’s Tim Berners-Lee, who created the Worldwide Web and American Marc Andreesen, who invented the first web browsing software.

The morning after they received the award, three of the winners spoke to hundreds of students from London schools, many of whom carry devices more powerful than the computers the men used to develop the Internet.  

They were joined by students in Swaziland who participated, of course, through the Internet.

Award winner Robert Kahn said the Internet is so much a part of people’s lives, they don’t really think about it.

“A lot of people don’t really know exactly what the Internet is.  To me, it’s all about the protocols for making things work together - to link together networks, computers, application programs - which a lot of people didn’t think was a particularly good idea when we first started out on it.  But it’s turned out to be pretty impactful worldwide,” Kahn said.

Kahn’s co-winner and partner in developing the TCP/IP protocol that makes Internet traffic possible is Vinton Cerf, now a vice president of Google. He wore a Google Glass Internet micro-computer.

“The significance is not the winning.  The significance is the existence of the prize at all, especially with Her Majesty’s name attached to it.  It elevates engineering to the same level of visibility and recognition as the Nobel Prizes,” Cerf said.

Both men say their satisfaction comes from the broad use of the Internet and the fact that their basic technical architecture still underpins it.  

But they acknowledge the privacy and security issues the Internet has created, highlighted most recently by revelations about U.S. government surveillance programs designed to fight terrorism.

“We are still in the middle of this rapid evolution of the Internet and its applications.  And we are going to have to learn, as a society, which things are acceptable and which things are not, what we should prohibit, and what things we should punish people for doing,” Cerf said.

“Those are not tensions that are just easily resolved - check the box and proceed this way or that way.  They require constant attention, especially in democratic societies,” Kahn said.

Kahn says technologies always have had what he calls “plusses and minuses,” and the Internet is no different.  But he also says that even after 40 years, there is no foreseeable end to the demand for the technology he and his co-winners developed.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, JPN
June 29, 2013 7:11 PM
Next winner should be those who developed container ships.
They have changed world logistic. We can not get any good cheap things from around the world without container ships.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 28, 2013 8:02 PM
Yes, I do not really know exactly what the inernet is. But I can not do without the internet even a day. Congratulations for five winners of this "novel" prize for distinguished engineers.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
June 28, 2013 6:00 PM
Finally, a recognition of the inventors of the internet. Congratulations to Robert Khan and Vincent Serf from the US and Louis Pouzin of France.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs