Inventors are inspirational. Hedy Lamarr was an inventor, but is perhaps better known as an actress. During World War II she worked with composer George Antheil and developed a radio guidance system for use on Allied torpedoes. The system used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to stop jamming torpedoes by Axis powers. This system was not accepted during the war, but was adopted by the US Navy in the 1960s. Their work was also incorporated into modern Wi-Fi, CDMA, and Bluetooth technology. The inventors were both inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.
Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. She was an only child to her Jewish parents. Hedy converted to Catholicism later and used her connections as an actress to help get her mother rescued from Austria when it was under Nazi control. In the 1920s Lamarr was discovered as an actress. In 1933, she starred in a controversial role in a film. She married her first husband in August 1933. She accompanied him to meetings with scientists and military technology professionals. She learned a lot, but her marriage was difficult with her controlling husband. She escaped her husband by fleeing to Paris. She met Louis B. Mayer who brought her to Hollywood as “the world’s most beautiful actress”.
She was successful in Hollywood and appeared in many films. She was an inventor as well as an actress. Her earliest inventions were an improved traffic stoplight and a tablet to make a drink carbonated. Lamarr and George Antheil patented their invention of a frequency-hopping system that would change the radio signals sent to torpedoes in 1942. They later received awards for their invention. During the war, she used her celebrity to sell War Bonds.
Lamarr became a citizen of the United States in 1953. By this time she had been married four times and had three children, one adopted and to natural. She went on to marry two more times before divorcing for the final time in 1965. She lived her remaining 35 years single. Hedy Lamarr died January 19, 2000. From plays to exhibits to television episodes Hedy Lamarr has made her mark in popular culture. She has been celebrated for her tornado frequency technology’s contribution to scientific advancement.
Be inspired! Have a bright day!