I’m curious if you’ve either read Wiener’s papers or seen other correspondence that would directly indicate your claim? Nothing I’ve read would be indicative of this other than that loose association that the two were both at MIT and obviously knew each other. I haven’t seen any historical treatments or had conversations in the community that don’t give Shannon complete credit. Somewhat tellingly Shannon’s original paper references few prior researchers primarily including only Nyquist, Hartley, Frechet, and Tolman, but it makes no mention of or reference to Wiener at all. The closest thing to vague credit occurs in a footnote by Warren Weaver in the subsequent book version of the paper (1949):

… Dr. Shannon has himself emphasized that communication theory owes a great debt to Professor Norbert Wiener for much of its basic philosophy. Professor Wiener, on the other hand, points out that Shannon’s early work on switching and mathematical logic antedated his own interest in this field; and generously adds that Shannon certainly deserves credit for independent development of such fundamental aspects of the theory as the introduction of entropic ideas.

Other than essentially saying “we agree to disagree” about primacy, I haven’t seen any direct evidence or publications to back up any of these claims (by Wiener). Are you aware of any? I’d love to read them.

The first reference I’ve seen of “negative entropy” was in February 1943 by Erwin Schrödinger in his Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies lecture that was later published as the influential book “What is Life?” the following year. The first appearance I’ve seen of the word negentropy doesn’t appear in the literature until Leon Brillouin’s paper “Negentropy Principle of Information”, J. of Applied Physics, v. 24(9), pp. 1152–1163 in September 1953, nearly a decade later.

Incidentally, Claude Shannon was already working towards some of what Schrödinger would highlight in 1943 as his lesser known Ph.D. thesis at MIT in 1940 was entitled An algebra for theoretical genetics in which he applied some of his prior master’s thesis work and Boolean algebra to Mendelian genetics.

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