Marissa DeMartino World History 1
Hedy Lamarr was a strong female role model and broke many social norms for her time. She showed that women can be a figure of beauty, but also strong and intelligent. She made advancements that were used by the government and that are used by us every day. Hedy Lamarr showed the world how powerful a woman can be.
Hedy Lamarr’s time in the spotlight was during World War II. She was living in Vienna, Austria and then came to America to peruse her acting career. As war went on and men had to leave their industry jobs for the battlefields, women were starting to show up more in the workplace as well as continue their role at home taking care of the house and the kids. Hedy would show the world that it didn’t have to be like that.
Hedwig Eva Maria was born on November 9th, 1914 in Vienna, Austria. Her first rise to fame was in the movie Algiers. This was her first breakout film. As her career progressed she changed her name to Hedy Lamarr. She starred in many movies during World War II and was once considered to be the most beautiful women in the world. Hedy would soon show that she was not just the most beautiful women in the world, but that she had an idea that would change the world as well. She wanted to prove that there was more to her besides her physical appearance.
Hedy Lamarr is known for her incredible invention that we still use today in times of war. This invention started with her ideas on frequency hopping. Hedy Lamarr worked with composer George Antheil to understand frequency hopping. By breaking it down they realized that radio transmission could be broken by cutting the frequency waves. Hedy used her grasp on this idea to come up with the theory of intersecting the waves multiple times could block enemy signals. She believed this would work because the multiple frequencies coming in and jamming the transmitter and receiver could stop the messages coming in.
Because of George’s background in music theory, the duo compared their ideas to a self-playing piano. Their understanding of how frequency hopping works and how the self-playing piano changes frequencies, aided them in developing a way for a torpedo to never be intercepted again. The new device had two motor driven rolls that could be synchronized to 88 frequencies. This would be then played in the transmitter of the torpedo. This made it un-jammable.
Hedy got the patent for the invention on August 11, 1942. She was willing to donate and present it to the Navy, but they turned her down. The Navy believed that frequency hopping was not a serious concept and took Hedy and her idea as a joke. Hedy’s advanced tactic was not looked at again until the 1950’s. Engineers at ”Sylvania Electronics Systems Division” turned it into an electronic machine rather than mechanical. The new and improved concept was launched during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Hedy Lamarr’s technology is still used today in the basic structure of wireless communication. Hedy Lamarr died on January 19, 2000. She lived a great life and showed the world who she was.
She is still remembered today for her remarkable advances in technology, but also for her contributions to acting. During the World War II era, she broke the social idea that women could have either “beauty” or “brains.” Hedy is the perfect example of both. Lamarr will continue to inspire young women because of her extremely advanced concept as well as her determined and focused attitude. She is a leader in both fields she participated in: acting and technology.
Hedy Lamarr’s invention is one of the many reasons why she should be remembered by our time. She proved that women could do anything from her work- both on screen and off. If wireless communication keeps growing, Hedy Lamarr will always be relevant. She is a powerful woman who changed history.