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 First Book

We take the ability to curl up with a good story for granted. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to books. For the 32 million American children growing up in low-income families, books are rare. In one low-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C., there is approximately one book for every 800 children. But children need books in their lives in order to do well in school and in life. Half of students from low-income backgrounds start first grade up to two years behind other students. If a child is a poor reader at the end of first grade, there's a 90% chance they're going to be a poor reader at the end of fourth grade.

In order to help close the literacy gap, First Book launched Give a Million, a Giving Tuesday campaign to put one million new, high-quality books in the hands of children. Since 1992, the nonprofit has distributed over 185 million books and educational resources, a value of more than $1.5 billion. Many educators lack the basic educational necessities in their classrooms, and First Book helps provide these basic needs items.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
True
first-book

I was 10 when my uncle Doug took his own life. I remember my mom getting the phone call and watching her slump down the kitchen wall, hand over her mouth. I remember her having to tell my dad to come home from work so she could tell him that his beloved baby brother had hung himself.

Doug had lived with us for a while. He was kind, gentle, and funny. He was only 24 when he died.

My uncle was so young—too young—but not as young as some who end their lives. Youth suicide in the U.S. is on the rise, and the numbers—and ages—are staggering.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Pavel Verbovski

Forrest doesn't mind admitting he needed a second chance. The 49-year-old had, at one point, been a member of the Army; he'd been married and had a support network. But he'd also run into a multitude of health and legal problems. He'd been incarcerated. And once he was released, he didn't know where he would go or what he would do. He'd never felt so alone.

But then, some hope. While working with Seattle's VA to obtain a place to live and a job, Forrest heard about Mercy Magnuson Place, a new development from Mercy Housing Northwest that would offer affordable homes to individuals and families who, like Forrest, needed help in the city's grueling rental market.

Forrest remembers not wanting to even go see the building because he didn't want to get his hopes up, but a counselor persuaded him. And when he learned that the development was a repurposed former military barracks — now a historic landmark — he knew he'd feel right at home.

Today, Forrest couldn't be happier. "I've got a 10-foot-high ceiling," he says. "I've got 7-foot windows. I look out onto a garden." His studio apartment, he says, has more space than he knows what to do with. For someone who's spent chunks of his life not having a place to call his own, the three closets that Forrest's apartment boasts are a grand luxury.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
True
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Having a baby is like entering a fight club. The first rule of having a kid is don't talk about having a kid. New moms end up with weird marks on their bodies, but they don't talk about how they got there or why. They just smile as they tell other women motherhood is such a joy.

There are so many other things we don't talk about when it comes to pregnancy. Hearing about the veritable war zone your body turns into is enough to snap anyone out of the highest of baby fevers, which is why so many women probably keep the truth to themselves. But it's important to talk about the changes because it normalizes them. Here are some of the ways your body changes that your health textbook isn't going to cover.

Keep Reading Show less
popular