I was looking for information on the history of the Internet. I first went to Wikipedia for some general encyclopedic information. I ran across a term that I had seen before but didn't really understand. That term was Packet Switching. Three names were associated with this term: Paul Baran, Donald Davies and Leonard Kleinrock. Packet switching is the way information is broken apart and transported on the Internet. It is then reassembled (packet by packet) at the receiving terminal.
Paul Baran, a Polish immigrant and engineer working for the non-profit Rand Corporation in the 1960's developed packet switching to keep communication from being blocked or discovered if there was a nuclear calamity. He called this method distributed communications or "hot potato routing" http://www.rand.org/about/history/baran.html .
While Paul Baran labored at the Rand Corporation, Donald Davies was developing much the same work at The National Physical Laboratory in Great Britian. The Laboratory website gives Davies credit for putting this theory into practical use http://www.npl.co.uk/about/famous_names/donald_davies.html .
Leonard Kleinrock, a current member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences is credited with the development of the ARPANET which was a precursor to the Internet. http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/chris/think/ARPANET/ARPA_People/Kleinrock.htm . Much of his early work was done while in graduate school at MIT in the early 1960's.
It is hard to tell who deserves credit for what at this point in my research. All three men, working separately, developed similar theories at about the same time independent of one another. What is important is that packet switching is partially responsible for the rapid and usually successful downloading of Web pages.