Codes and Clowns. Claude Shannon – the juggling scientist

Claude Shannon and "Theseus" (Foto: MIT-Museum)

Special exhibition from 6 November 2009 to 25 April 2010


He was one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century, the father of the bit, and the pioneer of the information age in which we live. But Claude Shannon not only stood out by virtue of his perspicacity and ingenuity; he also possessed great humour and originality to boot. The founding father of information theory spent his spare time building juggling robots, chess computers and programmable tin mice. He was often seen riding a unicycle or juggling clubs in his office.  From 6 November 2009 to 28 February 2010, the “Codes and Clowns” exhibition at the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn will be showcasing a selection of his inventions, ranging from the highly practical to the downright useless. The presentation sets Shannon’s inventions in the context of his biography and the history of information technology, shedding light on the relevant scientific relationships and implications. The exhibits are on loan from the MIT Museum in Boston, the first time that they have been on show at a different location.