[Shannon] was a tinkerer to the end of his life, and he worked with his hands long after he had any need to. But unlike other tinkerers, he had a way of getting behind things. He loved the objects under his hands, right up to the point when he abstracted his way past them. Switches weren't just switches, but a metaphor for math. There had been legions of jugglers and unicycle riders in the world, but few were as compelled as Shannon would be to fit those activities to equations. Most important of all, he would abstract his way past all of human communication, to the structure and form that every message holds in common. In all these endeavors, he was distinguished less by quantitative horsepower than by his mastery of model making: the reduction of big problems to their essential core.
Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman, A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age
Text rights: Creator: Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman • Statement: In Copyright • Holder: Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman