Internet Pioneers Awarded Franklin Medal
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 26 April 2018

Vint Cerf and Bob Khan have been presented with Franklin Institute Awards for the part they played in the creation of the Internet.

Since 1824 (77 years longer than the Nobel Prizes), The Franklin Institute has been recognizing scientists and engineers who have changed the world -- and our lives. Since its inception the awards program has honored more than 2,000 of the most impactful scientists, engineers, inventors, and entrepreneurs.



This year Vinton Gray Cerf (left) and Robert E. Kahn (right) are recipients of the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science, for as the citation states:

enabling the Internet by developing TCP/IP, the set of methods that allows effective communication between millions of computer networks.

The extended information, which includes the video below, opens with:

Very few people can say they invented the internet, and actually mean it. The internet began as an experimental resource called the ARPANET, created by the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to connect several educational and governmental labs together and facilitate communication among them. Both Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn worked on the early designs of ARPANET, but it was their development of a way for all the different computers in the world to talk to each other that allowed the internet as we know it today to exist.  

It concludes:

Every person who has ever sent an email, downloaded a webpage, or sent a photo to a friend owes a debt to them. Though no one can claim to be the "inventor of the Internet," Cerf and Kahn are undeniably the individuals who made it practical, useful, and ubiquitous.


As well as biographical background, the video explains the pitfalls of the way the original ARPANET split messages into "packets" and how Cerf and Kahn's Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) improved on it and as TCP/IP is still relied on today. In the words of the Franklin Institute:

As the Internet has spread to every corner of the planet and even beyond into space, TCP/IP has proven almost infinitely scalable, reliable, and robust, such that no replacement has ever been seriously considered.

For more about the origins of today's Internet see The Early History of the Internet




More Information

The Franklin Institute Awards

Vinton Gray Cerf

Robert E. Kahn 

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The Early History of the Internet

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