Press Release 086/2013

Werner Zorn Is Member of the Internet Hall of Fame

International Honor for Computer Scientist from Karlsruhe
Professor Werner Zorn. (Photo: Kay Herschelmann)

The computer scientist Professor Werner Zorn from Karlsruhe has been admitted to the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society. He is one of 32 internet pioneers worldwide, who are honored in 2013 for their extraordinary achievements relating to the development and dissemination of the internet. The Internet Society recognizes Zorn’s merits in the introduction of electronic mail and development of the internet in Germany.


After his studies of electrical engineering at the then Universität Karlsruhe (today’s KIT), Zorn first worked as a member of the scien-tific staff of Karl Steinbuch and did his doctorate in 1971. From 1972, he headed the newly established informatics computer department (IRA) at Universität Karlsruhe, where he paved the way for the introduction of the internet in Germany. A major step was the connection to the US Computer Science Network (CSNET), from which the first electronic mail arrived in Karlsruhe on August 03, 1984. At that time, it was impossible to foresee how quickly electronic mailing would turn into one of the most important communication media. Three years later, the research group established a CSNET connection to China.

In 1989, Werner Zorn succeeded in establishing the first German direct connection to the American NSF-NET. Via the service provid-er Xlink, German universities and commercial companies were able to connect to major parts of the global internet at that time. In 1993, Xlink became an autonomous spinoff of the university. In 2001, Zorn moved to the Hasso Plattner Institute, Potsdam, to hold the Chair for Communication Systems. In 2006, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit.

The Internet Society is the largest independent organization world-wide, which promotes the open development and evolution of equal access to the internet. The Internet Hall of Fame of the Internet So-ciety is to annually honor outstanding individuals who contributed to the further development of the internet.

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

ses, 28.06.2013

Monika Landgraf
Chief Communication Officer
Head of Corporate Communications
Chief Press Officer
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Sebastian Schäfer
Fakultät für Informatik
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The press release is available as a PDF file.