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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

Official survey finds China’s manufacturing sector contracted at its fastest pace in three years More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs