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Claude E. Shannon: Communications as a Statistical Process, 1955

A Musical Mathematician

Shannon enjoyed music and poetry as well as mathematics, and played Dixieland music on his clarinet. He owned eight Russian instruments, including a bassoon and a balalaika, acquired during a trip to Russia. Many of his papers were translated into Russian, and while on a visit to the country he was informed that they had collected several thousand rubles in royalties. This amount was equivalent to roughly the same amount in dollars, but Shannon was not permitted to take the money out of Russia. He decided to spend it on the aforementioned instruments, and he and his traveling companions were frequently mistaken for a traveling orchestra on their trip back to the United States.

The Franklin Institute issued a press release announcing Shannon's receipt of the Ballantine Medal and outlining the accomplishments of this multi-talented scientist. You can read the text of this press release by clicking on the thumbnails at right.