Some know Hedy Lamarr from her Hollywood days. Everyone should know what she invented.

How a Hollywood "It Girl" took her dreams seriously and wound up laying the foundation for so much technology we still use today.

Hedy Lamarr was a movie star.

It would be her 101st birthday today, and Google has rightly chosen to honor her with an amazing Google Doodle that chronicles her adventurous life.


Lamarr was 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.

You go, girl! GIF of James Stewart and Hedy Lamarr in "Come Live With Me" (1941).

But she wasn't just kickin' it with James Stewart and the like on-screen. Nope. Lamarr was also an incredible inventor.

GIFs via googledoodles/YouTube.

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.

So she teamed up with George Antheil, a pianist and composer, and they came up with a solution.

Watch the radio signal skip around. It's practically UN-JAMMABLE!

If it looks a bit like piano music, you'd be on track. 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.

Hedy always followed her passion to create, no matter what.

Not only did she 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.

Watch her Google Doodle, made by Google's Jennifer Hom :

Most Shared
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular