Winner of the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Dr Vinton (Vint) Cerf, was last week elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. An American computer scientist, Cerf is considered one of the ‘fathers of the internet’ and, along with Robert Kahn, Louis Pouzin, Marc Andreessen and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in 2013 for his contribution to revolutionising the way we communicate.
Born in 1943, Cerf obtained a BSc in mathematics from Stanford University, and a PhD from UCLA in 1972, where he met his friend and colleague Bob Kahn, and the pair began working on ARPANet. In the years that followed, Cerf enjoyed an illustrious career in computer science, becoming the Founding President of the Internet Society, serving as chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and conducting a term as Chair of the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served as a member of the US Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee, and now serves on the US National Science Board.
In 2005, Cerf was appointed Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, where he continues to contribute to global policy development and the increasing spread of the internet.
Alongside the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Cerf has received a number of awards and commendations in connection with his work on the internet. These have included, amongst others, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the US National Medal of Technology, the ACM Turing Award, the Legion d’Honneur and 26 honorary degrees. Cerf is also a Fellow of many institutions, and is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.
Speaking about his recent election as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, Cerf said: “The members of the Royal Society form a who’s who of the most renowned names in the history of science, and it is very humbling and deeply gratifying to be connected with this prestigious and productive Institution.”