Women’s History Month: Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was a beauty of Hollywood’s Golden Age, appearing in 18 films between 1940 and 1949.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Image placeholder title

With her seductive Austrian accent, she shared the screen with the likes of Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Jimmy Stewart. Though she is best known for her fairly brief screen career, she made important contributions to technology that are in use to this day: she developed the idea that lead directly to wi-fi and bluetooth network communications.

Her whole life Hedy kept a quiet hobby, setting aside a room in her house for inventing. In 1941, with World War II raging in Europe, Hedy designed a communication system called “frequency hopping.” Her idea was that radio-guided torpedoes could switch between various radio frequencies, to make the torpedoes harder for the enemy to detect and jam. She was awarded a patent for this and presented her idea to the US Navy, but the Navy didn’t use the idea until much later, in 1962. The patent remained forgotten until 1998 when it was acquired by a company called Wi-Lan. Hedy’s invention served as the basis for “Spread Spectrum Communications Technology,” which we know better as bluetooth and wi-fi!

So anytime we see a businessman with a bluetooth receiver in his ear, or anytime we download an app onto our smartphone, we can thank Hedy Lamarr!

Big thanks to reader Annabelle Larson for suggesting Hedy Lamarr as a blog topic! Annabelle will get a pair of free tickets to The Leonardo. Still time to nominate your favorite female innovator for inclusion in this blog. Check out this Facebook page and put in your nomination!

Related

Image placeholder title

Women’s History Month: Rosalind Franklin

“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated” – Rosalind Franklin

Image placeholder title

Women’s History Month: Ada Lovelace – The Enchantress of Numbers

I can say with 100% certainty that you are reading these words on a computing device.

Black History Month Book Recommendations

Book Recommendations: Black History Month

Starting with picture books for younger kids leading up to books for teens, take a look at the books we recommend reading during Black History Month.

Image placeholder title

Book Recommendations: Black History Month

February is Black History Month and I have a list of book recommendations for your family.

Women's History Month

Smithsonian Education Women’s History Resources. Navigate through an interactive gallery and explore photographs of some of twentieth-century America’s famous and influential women.

Image placeholder title

American History Museum: July and August Fun

American History Museum: July and August Fun.

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 4.23.20 PM

Abby Wambach, Jennifer Garner, Serena Williams and More Are Starting a New Women’s Soccer Team

Is there anything more beautiful than kickass women supporting one another?