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Claude Shannon Biography

Claude Elwood Shannon was born on 30 April 1916 in Petoskey, Michigan, United States. He was an American mathematician, computer scientist, cryptographer, and electrical engineer. His father’s name was Claude elwood shannon Sr. He was a judge and also a businessman. His mother’s name was Mabel Shannon and she was a language teacher later she also worked as a principal. Shonnon’s family lived in Gaylord, Michigan, and Claude Shannon Jr. was born in the hospital near his home. Shannon spent 16 years of his life there.

Name Claude Elwood Shannon Jr.
Father Claude Elwood Shannon Sr.
Mother Mabel Shannon
Birthdate 30 April 1916
Birthplace Petoskey, Michigan United state
Death 24 Februry 2001
Spouse Betty Shannon
Field Mathematics and electrical engineering
Institution Bell labs, MIT

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He was very curious about mechanical and electrical things. He made some devices such as models of planes, radio-controlled model boats, etc at home.


After graduation, he obtained a research assistant position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT he worked with Vannevar Bush on the differential analyzer. During this time he designed switching circuits based on Bool’s concept. In the years 1937, he wrote his master’s degree thesis. It was published in the year 1938. In his thesis, he proved that his switching circuit could simplify the arrangement of the electromechanical relays. These types of arrangements were used in telephone call routing switches at that time. Later he expanded this concept and also proved that it can solve all problems like Boolean algebra.

Shannon joined MIT as a faculty to work Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) in the year 1956 to 1976.

Wartime Research

During world war 2 Shannon joined bell labs under a contract of the national defense research committee (NDRC). There he worked on fire systems and cryptography. In the year 1942, he invented signal-flow graphs. In 1943 he met British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing. Turing showed his 1936 paper to Shannon which defined the Universal Turing machine.

Shannon published ‘A Mathematical Theory of Communication’ which was built at bell labs with the help of other researchers such as Harry Nyquist and R.V.L. Hartley. His framework and terminology are still used. Shannon invented the message delivery system. Engineers got permission to focus on this system.


The last few years of his life were spent in a nursing home because he had Alzheimer’s disease. Later on Feb 24, 2001, he passed away.

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