Time cited Zuckerberg "for connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives."
Since 1927, Time magazine has chosen someone or something that, "for better or worse," made the greatest impact during the year. The story goes that Time editors first came up with the idea during a slow news week. (That sounds familiar.)
CNET has culled from the list to highlight winners in the technology and science fields.
We've also created a poll to discover our readers' pick for tech person of the year.
They were: geneticist George Beadle, "astronauticist" Charles Draper, virologist John Enders, physicist Donald Glaser, geneticist Joshua Lederberg, chemist Willard Libby, chemist Linus Pauling, physicist Edward Purcell, physicist I.I. Rabi, physicist Emilio Segre, William Shockley (co-creator of the transistor), physicist Edward Teller, physicist Charles Townes, physicist James Van Allen, and chemist Robert Woodward.
Time said it chose U.S. scientists "because the heart of scientific inquiry now beats strongest in this country."
Time explained its choice this way: "For all its upheavals and frustrations, the year would be remembered to the end of time for the dazzling skills and Promethean daring that sent mortals around the moon."
"A personal computer, it says, can send letters at the speed of light, diagnose a sick poodle, custom-tailor an insurance program in minutes, test recipes for beer."
It was an ad for Apple Computer.
Time wrote, "Spurred by poverty, population growth, ill-advised policies and simple greed, humanity is at war with the plants and animals that share its planet."
In the early days of CNN, Turner insisted it was all about timing.
Time used his quote to help explain its choice: "'I am the right man in the right place at the right time,' he said. 'Not me alone, but all the people who think the world can be brought together by telecommunications.' The years since, and most especially the one just past, have demonstrated how emphatically he was right."
"People get to this new world, and they want to carve out their place in it. The result is dedication and a higher level of work ethic," he said. "You always retain a bit of an underdog mentality."
The magazine called him "the person most responsible for the amazing growth in the power and innovative potential of microchips."
In 1999, Time changed its annual designation to Person of the Year from Man of the Year, though the first female winner--Wallis Simpson--was chosen in 1936. Also in 1999, the magazine named Albert Einstein the Person of the Century.
Time quoted Bono talking about one of his fellow "Persons of the Year," Bill Gates: "He's changing the world twice. And the second act for Bill Gates may be the one that history regards more."
Because "You control the Information Age," Time magazine chose "You." (Note the period.) You might remember the shiny, reflective cover that was put there, no doubt, so you could admire yourself.