Shannon, Claude Elwood, 1916-2001, American applied mathematician, b. Gaylord, Michigan. A student of Vannevar Bush at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he was the first to propose the application of symbolic logic to the design of relay circuitry with his paper "A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits" (1938). His insight that all data could be encoded as a series of 1's and 0's pioneered the breakthrough in digital electronics that led to the modern digital computer and telecommunications networks. Shannon worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1941-72 and initiated the field of information theory with his 1948 paper "A Mathematical Theory of Communication," which was retitled The Mathematical Theory of Communication when published in 1949 with a preface by Warren Weaver. Shannon returned to MIT in 1958, although he remained a consultant with Bell Telephone. Over the next two decades his curiosity about the fledgling field of artificial intelligence led him to build and experiment with such things as chess-playing, maze-solving, juggling, and mind-reading machines.

See C. E. Shannon et al., Claude Elwood Shannon: Collected Papers (1993).

Shannon, principal river of the Republic of Ireland and longest (c.240 mi/390 km) in the British Isles. It rises near Cuilcagh Mt., NW Co. Cavan, and flows S through the Central Plain into Co. Limerick, where it turns west in a broad estuary (c.70 mi/110 km) to the Atlantic Ocean between Loop Head and Kerry Head. Loughs Allen, Boderg, Ree, and Dreg are expansions of the river. The Shannon with its many tributaries drains a region of farmland and peat bogs. Towns along the Shannon include Carrick-on-Shannon, Athlone, and Limerick. The river is connected with E Ireland by the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal; large vessels, however, cannot ascend the river above Foynes. Limerick is the head of estuary navigation. An important hydroelectric plant was built between Lough Derg and Limerick. The fisheries of the river are valuable. Shannon Airport Industrial Estate (opened 1945), a duty-free international terminal on the river, 15 mi (24 km) W of Limerick, has been developed by the government into an industrial center.
Shannon's law can mean two things:

  • Shannon-Hartley theorem, any statement defining the theoretical maximum rate at which error-free digits can be transmitted over a bandwidth-limited channel in the presence of noise. Shannon's law has applications in telecommunication
  • Shannon's law (Arizona), a law that was established after the 1999 death of teenager Shannon Smith, to punish those who fire gunshots into the air, risking the lives of others
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