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Hedy Lamarr

Born in Vienna, Hedy’s beginnings were not at all of what someone would consider to be a STEM career - rather, her original claim to fame was that of a film actress. After secretly moving to Paris (and then London, and then finally the U.S.) at the dawn of the second World War, she ended up learning that radio-controlled torpedoes, a technology just beginning to see usage in naval war, could be jammed and effectively disarmed. Hedy thought of creating a frequency-hopping signal to counteract this, and designed a device that would accomplish this. However, the U.S. Navy was not very receptive, and the technology didn’t end up seeing much use until the 1960’s. The principles of this work, however, are present in GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi technology still used today!

Lamarr was an only child, and her father spent much time with her in her early years. Reportedly, he would take her for long walks to discuss the inner workings of machines, and encouraged her to look at the world with open eyes.

Hedy Lamarr
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