Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

EECS Alumni > Alumni Updates > 1930s

Alumni Updates: 1930–1939
Claude Shannon

Claude Shannon

A young freethinker, Claude Shannon (BSE EE/Eng Math '36, ScD hon. '61), published "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" in 1948. It was a landmark paper that posed a fundamentally new idea which propelled the world into the information age. Shannon was a fresh, exciting voice at Bell Laboratories when he wrote that paper. Today, he is considered the father of information theory and has been compared to Einstein. His study of logic and Boolean algebra at the College of Engineering convinced him that both subjects had applications in relay switching circuits used in telephone exchanges. It became the subject of his MIT master's thesis, "A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits," one of the most important master's theses of the century. Shannon received the National Medal of Science and the IEEE Medal of Honor, which are but two of his many awards.