Known to most as a Hollywood starlet in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, Hedy Lamarr, (born Nov 9th, 1914) starred alongside tinsel town's top luminaries such as Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable. Rising to the height of fame from her talents and beauty, few realize that it's Hedy's brain that has actually made a bigger impact on the world!
Self educated and extremely intelligent, Hedy often tinkered and invented in her spare time. She developed improvements to the modern stoplight, early forms of carbonated beverages, and even was supported by Howard Hughes to tinker and work in his labs. Hughes asked her to submit ideas on how to make aircraft fly faster. After studying the shapes of sea creatures and the flight of birds, Hedy submitted sketches and designs for a more aerodynamic approach to the wing design by simply changing it from a square form to a more efficiently sloped shape. Hughes declared "You're a genius!"
During World War II, Hedy Lamarr patented a method of blocking enemy signals from radio-controlled missiles. Her "Secret Communications System" involved simultaneously changing radio frequencies so the enemy would be unable to even detect the signal. Hedy was truly ahead of her time, as the technology didn't exist to execute her system. Later, the advent and refinement of the transistor, made Hedy's patented idea possible. Following military use, Hedy's "Secret Communications System" served as the foundation for today's cell phone technology!
Sadly, her life was speckled with multiple marriages, and later, a string of failed films, and run-ins with the law. Perhaps the emphasis on her fading beauty and the lack of recognition and compensation for her intelligence aided to these conflicts. Today, our world is centered around our cell phones and all the possibilities they offer. Seriously—how did we function before this tool? What if Hedy's brains were celebrated as much as—or even more than—her beauty? What else would she have developed? Just imagine the brilliant possibilities...