2007 Draper Prize to Berners-Lee

Posted on January 5, 2007  Comments (3)

Timothy J. Berners-Lee will receive the prestigious Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering from the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for developing the World Wide Web.

Also, Yuan-Cheng “Bert” Fung will receive the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize — a $500,000 biennial award (since 1999) recognizing engineering achievement that significantly improves the human condition — “for the characterization and modeling of human tissue mechanics and function leading to prevention and mitigation of trauma.”

Related: 2006 Draper Prize for Engineering2006 Gordon Engineering Education PrizeKyoto Prize for Technology, Science and the ArtsWeb Science2006 MacArthur Fellows2004 Medal of Science Winners

Timothy J. Berners-Lee imaginatively combined ideas to create the World Wide Web, an extraordinary innovation that is rapidly transforming the way people store, access, and share information around the globe. Despite its short existence, the Web has contributed greatly to intellectual development and plays an important role in health care, environmental protection, commerce, banking, education, crime prevention, and the global dissemination of information.

Berners-Lee demonstrated a high level of technical imagination in inventing this system to organize and display information on the Internet. He devised a number of innovations:

* The uniform resource identifier (URI), which is used to identify or name a particular resource on the Internet.
* HyperText Markup Language (HTML), which provides structure to text-based information on the Web. With HTML, text is not restricted to a linear format; it can contain links to text, images, or objects in Web documents located elsewhere.
* One-way and universal hyperlinks that can point anywhere on the Web, a simple but profound difference from other proposals at that time.
* HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which conveys or transfers information over the Internet.

Berners-Lee demonstrated brilliant vision by choosing to make the Web with public domain software that is scalable, so that it can always perform efficiently. Furthermore, the Web’s open architecture permits other inventions to build on its unpredictable and limitless potential uses as needs arise. Berners-Lee proposed his concept for the Web in 1989 while at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). He launched it on the Internet in 1991 and continued to refine its design through 1993. He persevered over widespread skepticism during these years.

Berners-Lee is now a senior researcher and holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a professor of computer science in the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. In addition, Berners-Lee continues to guide the evolution of the Web as founder and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an open, international forum that develops standards for the Web.

The Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize

Yuan-Cheng “Bert” Fung is known as the “father of modern biomechanics” for pioneering the application of quantitative and analytical engineering principles to the study of the human body and disease. His accomplishments and insights have directly contributed to designs, inventions, and applications that save lives, mitigate the severity of soft tissue injury, enhance the recovery and functionality of injured soft tissue, and improve the effectiveness and longevity of prosthetic orthopedic devices.

Fung, a professor emeritus of bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), became interested in the mechanics of the human body after spending 20 years making significant contributions in aeronautics. In the early 1960s, while still a professor at the California Institute of Technology, he began applying his understanding of stress and strain to the study of blood vessels and cells. In 1966, Fung joined UCSD to establish one of the first bioengineering programs in the country and to fully devote himself to studying the mechanical aspects of the body.

Fung’s theories on the mechanical properties and functions of blood cells and capillary blood vessels have led our understanding of microcirculation, endothelial biology, and atherosclerosis. His “sheet-flow” theory provided a quantitative description of pulmonary circulation, hypertension, edema, and respiratory distress syndrome. Problems related to severe thorax impact injuries have been solved by Fung’s “stress wave propagation” theory. Morphometric data worked out by Fung on coronary blood vessels, pulmonary vascular tree, and intestines have proved invaluable for theoretical analyses. His quantitative methods for characterizing stress-strain behavior of human tissue — now known as quantitative biomechanics — have led to fundamental advances in understanding how tissues interact with dynamic environments.

Dramatic vehicle safety enhancements of recent years are directly attributable to Fung’s concepts of soft tissue response to impact, its rate of stress-strain relaxation, and its response to pressure change. He explained his insights and models in numerous papers and in the classic, enduring reference, Biomechanics: Mechanical Properties of Living Tissue (Springer Verlag, 1981), which is credited with improving vehicle design and crash safety. Fung’s research has also been used to develop products that protect against explosive compressions, such as personal body armor for military forces and emergency responders.

More recently, Fung directly contributed to tissue engineering through the development of engineered products for treating burns and severe tissue injuries and the development of engineered blood vessels. Furthermore, the application of his theories of biomechanics to orthopedic devices has significantly improved the functional management of soft tissue injuries such as ankle sprains. New research and applications built on Fung’s theories will continue for many years to come.

NAE Press Release

3 Responses to “2007 Draper Prize to Berners-Lee”

  1. CuriousCat: Herr wins $250,000 Heinz Award
    September 13th, 2007 @ 9:44 am

    “Herr, of the Media Lab, was recognized for “breakthrough innovations in prosthetics and orthotics.” He is among six distinguished Americans to receive one of the $250,000 awards presented in five categories by the Heinz Family Foundation…”

  2. CuriousCat: 2008 Draper Prize for Engineering
    March 6th, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

    “2008 Charles Stark Draper Prize will be awarded to Rudolf Kalman for the development and dissemination of the optimal digital technique known as the Kalman Filter…”

  3. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » The First Web Server
    May 30th, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    […] The Web is 15 Years Old – The Second 5,000 Days of the Web – 2007 Draper Prize to Berners-Lee – Google Server Hardware Design by curiouscat   Tags: Engineering, Products, Research, […]

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