The Woman Who Made the Internet Possible
It is widely known that the Internet was developed in the 1960s, during the Cold War. The reason behind it was to find a way for government researchers to share information. When one types in Google, “Who invented the Internet?” the first link that pops up gives them a brief description of a British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, who created the World Wide Web in the late 1980s. However, only a few individuals know that more names are behind the Internet formation. One of them is Hollywood’s golden age movie star, Hedy Lamarr.
As an only child, Hedy received an excellent education from her father, a bank director and an intelligent man, who used to have deep conversations with a Hollywood actress-to-be about how machines work and take her to extracurricular activities, such as ballet and piano lessons. Throughout her life, she came up with ideas of an improved stoplight and a tablet used to make soda. However, one of the most outstanding projects that she worked on with her husband, George Antheil, was a new communication system based on the frequency hopping system that worked as both transmitter and receiver. After the couple’s work was widely recognized, Hedy donated the invented technology to the U.S. military to use against the Nazi German army during World War II.
In the following article “Hedy Lamarr” from National Women’s History Meseum, author Colleen Cheslak goes into details on the story of the Austrian-American actress who made the Internet possible:
Lamarr became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award. Although she died in 2000, Lamarr was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for the development of her frequency hopping technology in 2014. Such achievement has led Lamarr to be dubbed “the mother of Wi-Fi” and other wireless communications like GPS and Bluetooth.
It is surprising that most of the time, Hedy Lamarr is known as a Hollywood superstar, not a physicist who made several breakthroughs in science.
Want to learn more about Hedy Lamarr's background in Physics? Click here.