The Mother of the Internet. Meet Radia Perlman, the Next Hidden Hero

Photo of Rafał Sałak

Rafał Sałak

May 26, 2022 • 4 min read
Radia Perlman portrait

Netguru presents the second story in the Hidden Heroes series, a publishing initiative, promoting under-represented pioneers from the history of software. Authored by Steven Johnson.

Women shouldn't code. What a harmful statement that has been repeated for years. How many wise, knowledgeable, and influential women are behind technology? Nobody knows. Radia Perlman, on the other hand, is without a doubt one of them. Meet Netguru's next Hidden Heroes, as written by Steven Johnson.

Warsaw/May 26th, 2022. What if I told you that a reliable Internet connection started with a poem? Do you think you'd believe it? We tend to concentrate on the application, but have you ever wondered how it is possible? And who stands behind the stable network design that connects servers and routers across the world?

"No one would have believed in the 1960s that strong women stood behind outstanding inventions. Neither would believe the story's heroine,"

– said said Steven Johnson, television host, TED speaker, and the author of Hidden Heroes story. "Even when she joined MIT, the most important university in technology, a few years later. She stood out among 50 other women, but her strong motivations and open mind opened another door—the door of programming."

The story of Radia Perlman is the second in the series of eight installments scheduled for this year. Her contributions to network stabilization, and more broadly to the Internet as a whole, have been critical in shaping what the World Wide Web is today. “Over the course of her lengthy career, Radia Perlman contributed more than her fair share of those pieces—and perhaps did as much as anybody to explain how stable networks operated, instructing a new generation of network designers in her wake,” – added Steven Johnson.

Click here to read Radia’s story.

Tech companies’ duty is to make the digital world less unfriendly so that everyone—regardless of their gender—can live up to their potential. Marek Talarczyk, CEO at Netguru, the publisher of Hidden Heroes: "Radia's journey is one of a strong woman, a strong message to every young woman around the globe and every self-doubting individual who believes he or she cannot achieve great things in life."

"There's this stereotype of engineers that they always take things apart. I never took anything apart. It never occurred to me to do that. I would have assumed that I would break it or get electrocuted or something,"

– Radia Perlman added.

We must shatter the broken wheel of stereotypes in today's environment.

The first step is to identify the Hidden Heroes.

Each month, one Hidden Heroes story will be published and made available for free on the dedicated page hiddenheroes.netguru.com. The first story was the story about the Belgian-born computer scientist and renowned MIT professor Pattie Maes, and her contribution to laying the groundwork for the online social networks we know today.

Steven Johnson and Netguru believe that Hidden Heroes will help people better understand the society we live in, as well as connect the past with the future in order to inspire future generations of innovators, developers, and software engineers.

Photo of Rafał Sałak

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Rafał Sałak

Comms Team Lead
A tribute to people who shaped technology  Authored by Steven Johnson     MEET HIDDEN HEROES

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