Claude Shannon: A Few Bits of Information Theory

Saturday 12:00 pm :: Jack E. Brown Chemical Engineering Building Rm. 108


Claude Shannon is one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century and is considered to be the father of the digital age. In his landmark paper published in 1948, he developed an elegant theory called information theory, which introduced the modern concept of information and provided guidelines on how to efficiently acquire, compress, store and transmit information. Just as how Newton’s and Einstein’s theories shaped our understanding of the physical world, Shannon’s information theory has shaped our understanding of the digital world.

In this interactive presentation, we will introduce the main ideas behind information theory through hands-on activities. We will also show how information theory has shaped the development of CD players, ipods, hard disks, flash memories, deep-space communications, cellular phones and wireless networks, to name a few. The presentation is aimed at the general public and only requires curiosity about high-tech gadgets. Middle school and high school students are highly encouraged to attend.


Department of Physics & Astronomy
USA Science & Engineering Festival Science Festival Alliance