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

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora