Claude Shannon

How about that Claude Shannon, founding member of the Unicycling Society of America, Bell Labs researcher, MIT professor, and father of information science who would have been one hundred today?

Can we get a whoot whoot for the man?

Yo, Shannon, you da man.

I just finished Portnoy’s Complaint and was thinking about you, Raphael.

I’m really not that fond of liver, dude.

For a long time now, I’ve been looking for a good picture/poster of him riding his uni, but never found one.

Shannon, you crazy diamond.

Being a vegetarian does that to a guy.

I work at Bell Labs as a librarian and to the best of my knowledge there are no publicly available pictures of Shannon unicycling. There aren’t any in our photograph archives. I suspect his family may have some private photos, but I don’t know of any out there. I don’t recall seeing any in old Unicycling Society of America newsletters either.

As an aside, at the Bell Labs celebration of Shannon’s centenary this past week, a researcher named Brian Cort rode his 3 wheeled giraffe made by Tom Miller (The Unicycle Factory).

Tell me about it.

And I see that the favorite horse leading into the Kentucky Derby is named “Nyquist.” Couldn’t be a coincidence, could it?

Sorry I missed this thread when it was originally current. Happy 100th! We will not forget you.

Nope, no pix in the old USA Newsletters. In fact, USA founder and original Newsletter Editor Bill Jenack didn’t do much coverage of those founding members; some were more directly connected to the organization than others.

I got to meet Claude in 1983 at the IJA Convention in Purchase, NY. No unicycling then; he was displaying a “3d animation” of a clown juggling 3 clubs. That is, he had an old record player, a strobe light, and a dozen or so little models of clowns with clubs and arms in various positions, spaced around the turntable. With the strobe light tuned to the right speed, they all juggled their clubs. At different speeds, they would move forward or backward around the turntable. Sorry, nothing digital there. :slight_smile:

I recognized his name from the USA Founders list and spent some time talking to him, but at that time I did not know the significance of his theories on information. Now we all use them, all day long! Even reading this forum! I figured I’d see him again around the convention (it was the first day), but I didn’t, and never took any pictures. :frowning:

Information, Reimagined

Excellent reading.

After spending a decent amount of time studying Shannon’s work during my degree, I am amazed that he was an unicyclist. Is there any list of famous unicyclist somewhere? I would be very happy to know some others.

Here are a few:

That’s a nice looking Big Wheel! I wonder if it belonged to Dr. Shannon, who made it, and when that photo was taken.

There are more photos in 10,000 Hours with Claude Shannon: How A Genius Thinks, Works and Lives.

Thanks for the link Vertigo, very interesting article.


I’m currently reading the biography of Shannon, A Mind at Play, published in 2017. Truthfully, aside from his interest in circus arts, Shannon’s work is vastly more interesting than his life was. That is not always the case with people who have contributed extraordinary insights. But it is with Shannon, in my opinion.

Still having learned the exact address of his apartment in Greenwich Village, 51 W 11th St, where another Claude, Levi-Strauss was his neighbor, and actually around the block from my childhood pediatrician, up the block from a famous ‘60s explosion, and a couple of blocks west of where my grandfather had a sweatshop in the 1910s, I felt compelled to pay the building a visit.

Shannon would have gazed out from where the air conditioners are.