Keeping up with its tradition, Google today celebrates the 100th birthday of mathematician Claude Shannon, also known as the ‘father of information theory’.
Contrary to popular perception that mathematicians were geeky and boring, Shannon’s fun side is clearly visible in the doodle. In the doodle created by artist Nate Swinehart, Shannon is seen juggling in the middle of the words “Google” which is a reference to the juggling machines he built and his juggling on a unicycle in lab halls.
Watch how he demonstrates his two most famous juggling machines
Shannon was born on April 30, 1916 in Petoskey, Michigan, and displayed a lot of interest in mechanics and electronics when in school. He used to play around with switches just for fun and was also credited with inventing Theseus, a mechanical mouse, which he programmed to navigate a maze.
Watch him explain the same to you in this video
Later in college, his master’s thesis, A Mathematical Theory of Communication is credited as being the foundation of electronic digital computing and “The Magna Carta of the Information Age.”
It was in this masterpiece that he coined the term “bit”,(short for binary digit) the fundamental unit of information which relates to digital certainty. So, had Shannon been alive today he would have turned 100 or 1100100 if you convert his age in binary!
During the World War II, he helped the US government as a cryptographer and is also credited with developing the first unbreakable cipher.
In his lifetime he attained a lot of fame and success, but Shannon never took himself or his work too seriously. He also regularly hung out with some well known geniuses like Albert Einstein and Alan Turing.
Shannon died in 2001 at age 84 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.