This is a black and white image of Betty Shannon (left) and Claude Shannon, both seated with several instruments on display on the table in front of them. Betty is holding a Swiss Army knife in front of her. Both are smiling at the camera.
Visibilizing Women’s Work
Conjecture aside, the aim of our advent calendar has been to visibilize those women that have been forgotten from the history of tech.
Think of Claude Shannon, the creator of Information Theory. He worked side by side with his wife Betty Moore Shannon. She was a mathematician that helped him with his papers. Not only that, she was the one that wired the famous Theseus mouse. How many of us knew that Claude Shannon most important intellectual collaborator was his wife Betty?
Betty and Claude Shannon from the Computer History Museum.
They would work side by side. Betty looked up references, took down Claude’s thoughts and, importantly, edited his written work. She offered her improvements and added historical references. As Betty put it, “Some of his early papers and even later papers are in my handwriting…and not in his, which confused people at first.” — Betty Shannon, Unsung Mathematical Genius by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman.