Werner Zorn

Dr. Werner Zorn, recognized as a founding father of the German Internet, was awarded Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit in 2006. After earning his PhD in 1971 from the University of Karlsruhe (now Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Dr. Zorn was appointed to head that university’s newly created computing center, the Department of Informatics.

It was while he was serving as a professor there that his research team created the infrastructure to connect Germany to the Internet. That achievement made Germany the fourth nation in the world to be connected.

Thanks to his efforts, the first email arrived in the Informatics computing center from the US Computer Science Network (CSNET) on August 3, 1984. Dr. Zorn repeated that success with a connection to China’s CSNET in 1987.

Two years later, Dr. Zorn also founded Xlink, the Internet service provider that linked Germany’s universities. Xlink was one of the founding members of Réseaux IP Européens, an organization dedicated to ensuring the continuation of  the administrative and technical coordination needed to maintain and develop the Internet.