On Friday December 12, 2014, during a ceremony at the Résidence de France in Washington, the Ambassador of France to the United States, Gérard Araud, bestowed the insignia of Officier de la Légion d’Honneur upon Vinton Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the Internet. Vinton Cerf received this honor as a recognition of his numerous contributions to the creation of the Internet as we know it today and his emphasis on academic collaborations with France in all of his projects.
Born on June 23, 1943 in New Haven, Connecticut, Vinton Cerf studied at Stanford University before obtaining a PhD at the University of California in Los Angeles. He is unanimously recognized as one of the fathers of the Internet for his work with Robert Kahn, at DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn share numerous distinctions including the National Medal of Technology and Innovation awarded by President Bill Clinton in 1997, the Medal of Freedom awarded by President George W. Bush in 2005, and the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering awarded in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II in 2013. He has been a member of the Academy of Engineering of the United States since 1995 and he received the Turing Award in 2004.
The creation of the Internet can be dated back to a research article published by Vinton Cerf in 1974. The article refers to the work of Louis Pouzin, a scientist at INRIA in Rocquencourt in France. The publication occurred after a visit of Vinton Cerf to INRIA in Rennes in 1973. This visit would mark the beginning of constant scientific exchanges with France, notably with Gérard LeLann, a scientist at INRIA in Rennes, and Bruno Oudet, a professor at the University of Grenoble and a scientific attaché at the Embassy of France in Washington, DC between 1991 and 1995.
Vinton Cerf continued to contribute to the success of the Internet after its creation. He supervised the development of the first commercial electronic mail on the Internet when he was Vice President of MCI. He also chaired the board of ICANN, the non-profit responsible for the attribution of digital adresses on the Internet. ICANN also defines the rules that are applied to domain names on the Internet.
Now, Vinton Cerf is Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist of Google. He explains the key characteristics of the Internet to politicians, members of the press and executives. He has done so during numerous testimonies in front of the United States Congress and at the French Parliament in 2013.
Release from the press office of the Embassy