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Licklider, Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, Joseph Carl Robnett (1912-1990) 

Joseph Licklider was a computer scientist who was influential in the ideas leading to the development of the internet. In the1960s he published a series of papers on the concept of networked computers, which he called the 'Galactic Network'.

He was born in St Louis, Missouri in the United States in 1915, and went on to gain degrees in physics, maths and psychology from Washington State University before receiving a doctorate in psychology from the University of Rochester and going on to lecture at Harvard University.

In 1950 Licklider joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was part of a Cold War project called SAGE (Semi Automatic Ground Environment), designed to create a computer-aided air defense system. During the 1960s Licklider was a group leader at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The team explored the theory of sending messages between computers in small electronic 'packets' developing the APRANET, which was a predecessor to the internet.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...