The Internet Hall of Fame officially kicked off today, inducting big tech names like Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Mitchell Baker, and Brewster Kahle. This was the inaugural award ceremony sponsored by the Internet Society to celebrate more than 30 pioneers, innovators, and global connectors of the Web.
"This historic assembly of Internet visionaries, innovators, and leaders represents an extraordinary breadth of vision and work," Internet Society president and CEO Lynn St. Armour said in a statement. "While the inductees have extremely diverse backgrounds and represent many different countries, each individual has an incredible passion for their work."
The inductees come from nine different countries and include 11 Ph.D.s, 11 published authors, one Academy Award winner, and one Nobel Prize Winner. Broken into three different categories, the Internet Society recognized individuals for being instrumental in the early design and development of the Internet, those who made outstanding technological, commercial, or policy advances to expand the Web, and people who made contributions to the global growth of the Internet.
"We all benefit from their outstanding contributions to a global Internet, making it one of the greatest catalysts of economic and societal development of all time," St. Armour said.
The Internet Hall of Fame award gala was hosted in Geneva, Switzerland. Besides the expected honorees, like Linus Torvalds and Phil Zimmermann, there were also a few surprises among the group, such as Craig Newark, creator of the online classifieds Craigslist, and former vice president Al Gore, who the Internet Society said was "a key proponent of sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion of and greater public access to the Internet."
To see all of the inductees and their bios go to the Internet Hall of Fame's Web site.
Updated April 24, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.: Corrected a misspelling of Phil Zimmermann's name.