+
upworthy
Celebrity

Hollywood legend Hedy Lamarr was a tech innovator whose inventions quietly changed the world

Hollywood legend Hedy Lamarr was a tech innovator whose inventions quietly changed the world
File:Hedy lamarr - 1940.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

This article originally appeared on 11.09.15


Hedy Lamarr was a movie star, and a total hot commodity in Hollywood. If you look around the Internet, you'll find lots of images of her makin' out with famous dudes from the '40s.


women in sciencehappy birthday film GIFGiphy


But Lamarr was also an incredible inventor.

She had a room in her house that was dedicated to tinkering, inventing, and just figuring out whatever she wanted!

She once said, "All creative people want to do the unexpected."

Let's be real: It was the 1940s, and no one was expecting a famous movie starlet to up and invent a torpedo radio system with the goal of fighting the Germans during World War II. But she did!


When she heard that a a German sub had torpedoed two boats carrying British children to Canada to avoid the Blitz, she was horrified.

Before Hedy became a famous movie star, she was married to an Austrian military arms merchant. And while her arms-dealing husband was chatting about weapons ... Hedy was listening. So when she got fed up with hearing about all the crappy news of the war, she called upon her own talents to make a difference.

First stop: torpedoes!

Torpedoes back then were controlled by radio signals, which meant they were easily jammed easily by evil German submarines. And Hedy was not there for that.

hedy lamarr, women in scienceUS Patent 2,292,387 - Lamarr & Antheil | Frequency Hopping: … | Flickrwww.flickr.com

So she teamed up with George Antheil, a pianist and composer, and they came up with a solution. Using a player-piano mechanism, they created a radio system that could jump frequencies, making it essentially jam-proof.

Lamarr and Antheil got a patent for their idea in 1942, in the middle of Hedy's career as a Hollywood star! And even though the U.S. military didn't use the technology until the '60s, the work they did laid the foundation for the complex radio communications that are behind cellphones, Wi-Fi, satellite tech, and more.


Not only did Hedy make space in her life to play and invent, but she took herself seriously.

She saw something she wanted to change, so she did it. She got her patent. She made a difference.

On what would have been Hedy's 101st birthday, artist Jennifer Hom celebrated her legacy creating this Google Doodle (below). Hedy's life is a masterclass in following your passion, no matter what.


A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?

Keep ReadingShow less
Modern Families

‘Hard pill to swallow’: Mom shares why some adult children don’t talk to their parents

"How your kids treat you when they are no longer in need of food and shelter, is a direct reflection of how you made them feel when they needed you to survive."

Parent and child deal with the pain of estrangement.

Even though humans are biologically hard-wired to form strong attachments to our parents, in many cases, these relationships become estranged as the children age. A recent poll found that nearly 1 in 4 adults are estranged from their families.

Six percent are estranged from their mothers and 26% have no contact with their fathers. It’s believed that these days, more children are comfortable distancing themselves from their parents because it’s good for their mental health.

“I think it relates to this new desire to have healthy relationships,” Rin Reczek, a sociology professor at the Ohio State University, said, according to The Hill. “There might be some cultural shifts around people being allowed to choose who is in your family. And that can include not choosing to have the person who raised you be in your family.”

Keep ReadingShow less

It's rare enough to capture one antler being shed

For those not well versed in moose facts, the shedding of antlers is normally a fairly lengthy process. It happens only once a year after mating season and usually consists of a moose losing one antler at a time.

It’s incredibly rare for a bull moose to lose both at the same time—and even more rare that someone would actually catch it on film.

That’s why shed hunter (yes, that’s a real term) and woodsman Derek Burgoyne calls his footage of the phenomenon a “one-in-a-million” shot.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Loretta Lynn's granddaughter wows 'American Idol' judges with raw original song

Emmy Russell's original song "Skinny," featuring lyrics about body image and eating disorders, nearly brought everyone to tears.

America Idol/Youtube, Promotional image of Loretta Lynn/Wikipedia

Emmy Russell (left) and her grandmother Loretta Lynn (right)

Emmy Russell, granddaughter of country music icon Loretta Lynn, proved that she was an artist in her own right during a recent episode of “American Idol.”

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Nashville auditioned in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the show's Feb. 25 episode, during which she opened up about wanting to not live in her grandmother’s shadow.

"She's one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me she's just Grandma," she said, adding "I think I am a little timid, and I think it is because I want to own my voice. That's why I want to challenge myself and come out here."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Jimmy Fallon asked his viewers if they've ever been caught red-handed. Here are 15 of the best responses.

You can’t lie about it, you can’t take it back, all you can do is pray for forgiveness.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images


There is nothing worse than being caught in the act when you're up to no good. You can't lie about it, you can't take it back, all you can do is pray for forgiveness.

"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon asked his viewers if they had ever been caught red-handed and their responses on Twitter were hilarious.

Here are 15 of the funniest and/or most embarrassing Tweets.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Her mother doesn't get why she's depressed. So she explains the best way she knows how.

Sabrina Benaim eloquently describes what it's like to be depressed.

Sabrina Benaim's “Explaining My Depression to My Mother."

Sabrina Benaim's “Explaining My Depression to My Mother" is pretty powerful on its own.

But, in it, her mother exhibits some of the most common misconceptions about depression, and I'd like to point out three of them here.
Keep ReadingShow less