JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
George Boehm wrote a fine, semi-offhanded paper on Claude Shannon's inventiveness: "Gypsy, Model VI, Claude Shannon, Nimwit, and the Mouse", in Computers and Automation, volume 2, number 2, March 1953. (The article is found on pp 1-4 in the issue of 37pp.)
Shannon (1916-2001) is widely seen as being the "father of information theory" though it might be more accurate to refer to him as the "father of the information age"--either title will do just fine.
Shannon basically established the foundation of the digital circuits in his 1937 A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits, which was also one of those great dreams-come-true parts of graduate school, when your masters' thesis is actually something that means something, and with Shannon's paper that "something" was exponential. It is the stuff of dreams but Shannon actually did it and did so with this paper at the age of 21. In the midst of a brilliant young career he also produced (in 1948, 11 years later) another great landmark effort, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, which is the pioneering paper on information theory and which was so brilliantly composed that its framework is still in place after 67 years. A year later came Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems, a work which established cryptography as a science more than a system. And on and on.
I like that Shannon was born in Petosky, Michigan, up there on the choppy Little Traverse, and all of those big-pebble Petosky fossil/stones.
This is a very insider-y semi-offhand but solid review of some of the gadgetry and robotic work of Claude Shannon: