Hedy Lamarr

Posted: June 24, 2008 in Technology, Weaponry, Whom You Least Suspect, WWII
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Ms. Lemarr, an Austrian born actress (1913-2000) who enchanted movie goers world wide with her ravishing beauty, also co-invented spread spectrum encoding, the basic technology for anti-ballistic missiles and the cell phone in your purse.

Married to an arms manufacturer in the 1930’s who had forbidden her from acting (while also failing to notice her astounding mathematical aptitude), Hedy instead learned her husband’s business and after fleeing the marriage for America in 1937, established a career for herself in Hollywood.

In 1942, Lamarr and composer George Antheil were awarded US Patent # 2,292,387 for a secret communications system which used a mechanical piano roll to frequency hop 88 times enabling radio guided missiles to evade detection, and thus, prevented from being jammed.

And as an amusing side note, this story may be pure hooey but I like it anyway: When reknowned womanizer, actor Errol Flynn, first encountered and put the moves on our gal-pal Hedy, she, knowing in advance his reputation, purposefully discussed mathematics until Flynn left her alone. One has to wonder if Errol Flynn didn’t inadvertently inspire Lamarr’s invention. The ultimate missile-jamming?

  1. […] this agent rather enjoys the fact fact that inventor/actress Hedy Lamarr stared as the little minx in the 1949 film “Samson and Delilah”. Rather ironic, […]

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