Community News

The GÉANT Community pays tribute to Professor Peter Kirstein

The research and education networking community lost a key figure yesterday when British computer scientist Professor Peter Kirstein sadly passed away.

An Internet Hall of Fame inductee and highly distinguished in his field, Peter played a leading role in the early days of the internet, along with Vint Cerf and several others. He spent much of his working life at University College London (UCL) where he set up its Department of Computer Sciences.

He was a keen proponent of international connectivity and among his areas of interest over many years was Central Asia. It was here that he set up the Silk project which provided the first R&E connectivity based on satellite technology. GÉANT’s CAREN project took over from Silk when EU funding became available, and several Caucuses’ countries also connected through Silk subsequently became partners in the EaPConnect project.

GÉANT CEO Erik Huizer recalls spending many hours in the early 1990s discussing and creating new projects with Peter, many of which were trialed within the R&E community, and at a time when the strong foundations of European research and education networking were being laid.

GÉANT’s Cathrin Stöver sums up the feelings of many: “This is very sad news – he was a great man, active to the end and most of all he was a great storyteller – connecting the past, the present while laying out the future. He walked easily between cultures, opened doors and connected people. We will miss him terribly.”

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