Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr (Hedwig Eva Maria Keisler) (1914-2000) was an Austrian-American international movie star, and co-inventor of “frequency-hopping”. In 1932 the German film Exstase received a lot of attention; she left her husband (who sold arms to the Nazis) and moved to Hollywood to sign with MGM, quickly becoming a box-office sensation. In 1940 she met George Antheil, an American avant-garde composer who used synchronizers in his music. Together, they collaborated and co-invented a system that changed radio frequencies so that enemies could not detect missile signals during WWII. Hedy recalled her first marriage and having learned a lot about weapons, specifically torpedoes. Hedy and George received a patent for this “Secret Communication System” in 1941, and passed it along to the Navy, who put it to use decades later in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The “spread spectrum” technology that Lamarr helped to invent paved the way for subsequent wireless devices.