Event Information
The Bit Player
Documentary. 90 min. NR.
Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 7:30 PM
Part of Science on Screen.
Tuesday, January 14 at 7:30 PM at the Michigan. Part of Science on Screen.


A film by Mark A. Levinson, director of the award-winning Film Particle Fever. In a blockbuster paper in 1948, Claude Shannon introduced the notion of a “bit” and laid the foundation for the information age. His ideas ripple through nearly every aspect of modern life, influencing such diverse fields as communication, computing, cryptography, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, cosmology, linguistics, and genetics. But when interviewed in the 1980s, Shannon was more interested in showing off the gadgets he’d constructed — juggling robots, a Rubik’s Cube solving machine, a wearable computer to win at roulette, a unicycle without pedals, a flame-throwing trumpet — than rehashing the past.

Mixing contemporary interviews, archival film, animation and dialogue drawn from interviews conducted with Shannon himself, The Bit Player tells the story of an overlooked genius who revolutionized the world, but never lost his childlike curiosity.

Claude Shannon, the film's protagonist, is a U-M alumnus (BSE Electrical Engineering 1936. BSE Mathematics 1936) and has been called the Father of Information Theory. The film will be followed by a Q&A panel with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty, Profs. Alfred Hero, David Neuhoff, and Chris Peikert.

Sponsored by

University of Michigan Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department

The Science on Screen program is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Michigan Theater’s Science on Screen program is also sponsored by Arbor Research Collaborative for Health.



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Event Info
Category:Films
Special Screenings
Michigan Films
Science on Screen