Women in STEM

Portrait of Hedy Lamarr; A young woman with striking facial features and dark brown hair looking directly into the camera. She has a bemused look on her face.

Hedy Lamarr

1913 - 2000 (Austria, U.S.A.)

The only child of an Austrian bank-director father and a classically trained pianist mother, Hedy Lamarr enjoyed a successful early career in Post WW1 Austrian theatre and film. She escaped an unhappy marriage to a Nazi sympathizer and was brought to the US in 1937 by film mogul Louis B Mayer, who named her "The World’s Most Beautiful Woman."  Her career spanned more than 30 movies made over nearly three decades.

Bored with her declining career, Hedy turned her attention to applied sciences. With the help of composer George Antheil, she designed a jam-proof radio guidance system for torpedoes creating technology they later patented.

Why She Matters

Hedy’s development of spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology aided the US Navy’s WW2 efforts and principals of her work are incorporated into modern GPS, WI-FI, CDMA (cell phone), and Bluetooth technology.


Leaving a Legacy

While under-utilized in her lifetime, the foundational technology created by Lamarr is now a component of the spread-spectrum communication systems that deliver  of our modern GPS, Wi-Fi, CDMA (cell phone) and Bluetooth services.