Thursday, March 03, 2011
What do frequency hopping and Hollywood Golden Age beauty Hedy Lamarr have to do with each other?
Er, she invented it.
I admit, I did not know that.
I actually knew this. The full story is more entertaining than the wikipedia account.
Hedy didn't invent spread spectrum, but she was on the patent. Before she left her Nazi-sympathizing husband to flee to London, she was a guest at dinner parties with lots of Nazi suck-ups. Picture them falling all over each other trying to impress Hedy, who was actually Jewish. "Tell me about your work, dahling." A lot of secrets got spilled. One scientist told Hedy enough -- and Hedy was smart enough -- to carry the idea of anti-jamming spread spectrum radio in her head to Hollywood where she met her co-patent filer. Together, they reverse engineered it. It's the same idea that we use today for cell phones -- except they use bits.
For me, it's Hedy or Ava Gardner for all time Hottest Brunette.
Presumably, this topic comes to light because of Natalie Portman, who has yet to revolutionize nano-tech or the like, but is still walking in Lamar's sizeable (rhetorically speaking) footsteps.
Natalie Portman, Oscar Winner, Was Also a Precocious Scientist
I've wanted for the longest time for someone to make a movie about Heddy Lamar.
Granted, she's not near as interesting as Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, or Snookie, but who could possibly stand in their towering shadows anyway. All Lamar ever did was help revolutionize communications while helping to beat the Nazis. P'shaw!