The 1990s Science and Technology: Headline Makers
The 1990s Science and Technology: Headline MakersMarc Andreessen
J. Craig Venter
Marc Andreessen (1971–) Marc Andreessen, a student working at the National Center for Superconducting Applications, created an easy-to-use, point-and-click graphical interface browser called Mosaic for the World Wide Web in 1993. (A browser is a computer program that retrieves and interprets documents on the Web.) Mosaic permitted users to click on icons (pictures of symbols) and view pictures, listen to audio, and see video. Realizing the browser needed to continually evolve, Andreessen formed his own company, Netscape Communications. In 1994, the company released its browser, Netscape Navigator, which became an overnight success.
Tim Berners-Lee (1955–) Tim Berners-Lee wrote a relatively easy-to-learn coding system called HyperText Markup Language (HTML) as a way to open his computer to other computers, allowing users to link their documents with his. In 1989, he proposed expanding this system into a global hypertext project known as the World Wide Web that would allow users anywhere to view nearly any document on the Internet. He also designed an addressing scheme that gave each Web page a unique location, or universal resource locator (URL). The World Wide Web debuted in 1991, making the Internet useful and available to the world.
Shannon Lucid (1943–) Astronaut Shannon Lucid flew on five space flights during her career, the most any woman has undertaken. On March 23, 1996, she blasted off in the space shuttle Atlantis, bound for the Russian Mir space station. She remained on the space station for 188 days and 4 hours, traveling 75.2 million miles. It was the longest period of time ever spent in space by a U.S. astronaut. Afterward, Lucid received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the first and only woman to be so honored.
J. Craig Venter (1946–) J. Craig Venter in 1995 helped map the entire genome (complete genetic information of an organism) of a bacterium that caused ear infections and meningitis. This was the first time the genetic secrets of an entire living organism had been exposed. By the end of the decade, a total of twenty genomes had been fully decoded worldwide, ten of them at his research facility. In 1998, Venter and others teamed up to form a new corporation called Celera Genomics. The company proposed to finish a map of the estimated three-billion-letter human genome by 2001.