More Than A Pretty Face in Pearls

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Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, Hedy Lamarr eventually found her name and film success in Hollywood in the late 1930s and 1940s. She was the star of many films but I remember her as the gorgeous Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah in 1949.

Here is the best, though, Hedy was also a mathematician. In 1942, with a partner, Hedy patented something called frequency hopping. Fully known as frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), it is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly switching a carrier among many frequency channels. It was first used by the US during the blockade of Cuba in 1962. But, why do we care? It is all about sitting on our couch with our laptops! Yes, FHSS is used today in spread-spectrum communication technology which is how we have cordless phones, wifi, and bluetooth.

Pretty cool, Hedy Lamarr! Thanks for the Wi-fi!

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