Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web, has avoided both the spotlight and the riches won by many internet entrepreneurs. But yesterday he received the first Millennium Technology Prize - a Â£663,000 cash award recognising his revolutionary contribution to humanity's ability to communicate.
The award, presented by Finland's president, Tarja Halonen, is among the largest of its kind. It was established in 2002 along the lines of the Nobel prizes and is backed by the Finnish government.
"Building the web, I didn't do it all myself. The really exciting thing about it is that it was done by lots and lots of people, connected with this tremendous spirit," Sir Tim, 49, said at the award ceremony in Helsinki.
The prize committee outlined the award to be given for "an outstanding innovation that directly promotes people's quality of life, is based on humane values and encourages sustainable economic development".
Sir Tim is recognised as the creator of the internet while working in the early 1990s for the CERN Laboratory, the European centre for nuclear research near Geneva, Switzerland.
His graphical point-and-click browser, "WorldWideWeb", was the first client that featured the core ideas included in today's web browsers - Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera and Mozilla among them.
News source: Scotsman.com