Claude Shannon, also known as the father of information theory, was an American Mathematician who invented the Shannon Number that is used in Chess. Shannon was also an electrical engineer and cryptographer.
Full Name: Claude Elwood Shannon
Title: PhD. and M.S.(M.I.T.)
A.B. and B.S.E. – Michigan University
Born: April 30, 1916
Died: February 24th, 2001 (age 84)
Place of Birth: Michigan in the U.S.A. (Petoskey)
Spouse: Levor Norma from 1940 to 1941, Betty Shannon from 1949 to 2001
Citizenship: United States of America
Field: Mathematics and Electrical Engineering
Early Life of Shannon Claude
Gaylord in Michigan is the birthplace of Shannon. He was born to Sr. Claude and his mother, Mabel Shannon. The father was a businessperson and a judge in Gaylord, while the mother was the principal of Gaylord High School and a language teacher. He received early education at public schools; in 1932, Shannon graduated from Gaylord High School. He was inclined to Science and Mathematics in his days at high school. He loved creating models, cars, planes and various inventions he could imagine. Shannon lived in Gaylord for 16 years. Western Union employed him as a messenger.
Shannon was admitted to pursue a degree at Michigan University in 1932. He completed 1936 with 2 degrees, one in Mathematics studies and one as an Electrical engineer 1936. Shannon was enrolled in M.I.T. to study electrical engineering further. While at M.I.T., Shannon wrote one of his most popular theses on symbolic analysis of relay and switching circuits that made him popular. The concepts in the thesis became the basis of the current digital circuit design.
In 1940, Claude Shannon was awarded Ph.D. from M.I.T. Shannon worked as Researcher fellow in 1940 at Princeton’s Institute dealing with Advanced Studies. While there, Shannon developed the Mathematical Information theory.
World War II
Due to the break out of World War II, Shannon was forced to abandon research at academic and scientific institutions to join Bell labs. At Bell Labs, he worked on cryptography and fire control systems research. The Bell Labs were under the mandate of the National Defense Research Committee. He invented the Signal flow graphs during the time of World War II. Shannon met a British mathematician Alan Turing who worked for British Government Code and Cypher School. Shannon was able to get into contact with Turing’s paper on the Universal Turing Machine, which complemented most of Shannon’s previous works. He then wrote the thesis on Data Smoothing for Prediction in systems of Fire-Control. Most of his work on Cryptography is advanced in Communication Theories published in the paper Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems. As watch approached the end in 1945, he wrote a memorandum known as A Mathematical Theory of Cryptography.
He worked part-time at various universities as a lecturer. He joined the M.I.T., Massachusetts’s Institution of Technology, in 1956. In Massachusetts, he was posted at the Research laboratory of Electronics. Shannon worked at M.I.T. for many years until 1978, when he retired.
Shannon lived his life more as a scientist and working in research labs, though he loved cycling, chess, and juggling as his favorite hobbies during his free. He is known for his love for chess and inventing the Shannon number.
Shannon came up with many inventions in the field of mathematics and engineering. He was the designer of a digital computer called Minivac 601. It was a great invention for the business industry as it was a way of getting them to learn our computers worked. The computer came into the market in 1961 through Scientific development Corporate. Shannon also invented the Roman numeral computer named Throbac and created Shannon’s mouse. Shannon’s other inventions included juggling machines, the wearable computer for roulette, and flame-throwing Trumpets.
Awards and honors
Shannon is one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. He received many rewards and accolades due to his work in the scientific field and in society. Shannon has an honor created after him, The Claude Shannon Award which he was the first receiver. He receives the following awards.
- Alfred Noble Prize, 1939 (award of civil engineering societies in the U.S.)
- National Medal of Science, 1966
- Morris Liebmann Memorial Prize of the Institute of Radio Engineers, 1949
- Stuart Ballantine Medal of the Franklin Institute, 1955
- United States National Academy of Sciences, 1956
- Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, 1967
- Harvey Prize, the Technion of Haifa, Israel, 1972
- Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (K.N.A.W.), foreign member, 1975
- Kyoto Prize, 1985
- Basic Research Award, Eduard Rhein Foundation, Germany, 1991
- Marconi Society Lifetime Achievement Award, 2000
Shannon has six tributes through statues across various institutions, which he served during his time as a scientist and scholar. Statues of Shannon are found at the University of Michigan, M.I.T., and California’s University. Bells Labs and AT T Shannon Labs. Shannon has another statue in his hometown Gaylord in Michigan. An award was also named after the scientist called The Claude E. Shannon Award.
Personal life of Shannon
Claude Shannon was engaged with Levor Norma in 1940. Levor was a left-wing intellectual and a wealthy Jewish woman. The marriage with Norma did not last long as they divorced a year late in 1941. Shannon married his second wife, Betty Shannon, 8 years after his divorce in 1949. Betty was an analyst of Bell’s labs, where Shannon worked during World War II. Shannon was blessed with 3 children with Betty. Shannon is aligned as a non-believer in God (atheist) and also a big enthusiast of politics.
Shannon developed various healthy conditions during his last years of life. He was forced to abandon scientific work and manage his conditions. He was diagnosed with various diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. The disease, coupled with numerous conditions, forced him to spend his later life in hospitals and nursing homes. He died in February 2001 in Medford in Massachusetts in the U.S.A.
In summary, Claude Shannon is one of the most influential figures in mathematics and has had a significant impact on the Chess community.
Sources and Footnotes
1. “Bell Labs Advances Intelligent Networks.”Archived from the original on July 22, 2012.
2. leick, James (December 30, December 30, 2001). “THE LIVES THEY LIVED: CLAUDE SHANNON, B. 1916; Bit Player”. The New York Times Magazine: Section 6, Pg 48.
3. M.I.T. Professor Claude Shannon dies; was a founder of digital communications”. M.I.T. News office. Cambridge, Massachusetts. February 27, February 27, 2001.