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Google Doodle Celebrates 100th Birthday Of Claude Shannon, Father Of Information Theory

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Claude Shannon, the "Father of Information Theory," is one of the latest figure celebrated at Google Doodle on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

Although the anniversary date has already passed, it's worth an extra feature to highlight the importance of Shannon's work.

Born on April 30, 1916 in Petoskey, Michigan, Shannon was an electrical engineer, mathematician and cryptographer. Google Doodle celebrated his contributions and achievements in the field of digital computing and electronic communication by depicting him as a juggler, holding a set of number ones and zeroes. These two numbers were instrumental in how Shannon transformed computing upon learning that he could use them to represent pictures, words, videos and more.

Shannon is known for his most famous work called "A Mathematical Theory of Communication (1949)" where information theory was first introduced. It is also where the term "bit" (binary digits) was first used, which refers to the number 1 and 0 combination that means yes-no, on-off, and true-false.

"It's impossible to overstate the legacy of Claude Shannon," said Google. "The paper he wrote for his master's thesis is the foundation of electronic digital computing."

Google added that Shannon, while being a cryptographer for the U.S. government during the second World War, developed the world's first unbreakable cipher.

Shannon also enjoyed tinkering with electronic switches and did it as a way to have fun, according to Google. He is said to have invented an electromechanic mouse which he called Theseus. The mouse is touted to have a "super" memory and uses such to find its way around a maze easily and with no mistake after a single "training" round.

His mouse invention may strike as an early form of artificial intelligence and he is said to have regularly brushed shoulders with Alan Turing and Einstein.

One thing that should be noted, however, is how Shannon managed to avoid one of the trappings that is commonly found among geniuses - taking oneself very seriously. Known for his world-class pranks and juggling skills, Shannon was often seen in the halls of Bell Labs riding a unicycle.

Apart from the electromechanic mouse, Shannon also invented a rocket-powered Frisbee and a flame-throwing trumpet. Perhaps the former could be a bit of an inspiration source for today's space rockets, while the latter may have become instrumental for night time band marching performances.

Shannon died in 2001 at the age of 84 and was said to be suffering from dementia at the time of death. His animated doodle on Google's homepage was created by artist Nate Swinehart.

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