Google Doodle Honors Hedy Lamarr For Her Engineering Smarts

9 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Actor-inventor Hedy Lamarr: Is today’s stunning animation the greatest Google Doodle yet?.

Namely she was titled ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’, starred in ‘scandalous’ sex scenes, was married six times and, most importantly, invented a wireless system which became the basis for the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS systems we use today.

Not only is it among the tech titan’s most stylish ever, as well as aptly cinematic, but today’s home-page Doodle, to mark the 101st birthday of the late Hedy Lamarr, will surely spark deeper interest in the screen legend’s amazing life. Lamarr’s contribution — coming up with the concept of frequency hopping — is significant. “It’s a story of innovation coming from unlikely places and coming from a woman,” said Steven Johnson, the series presenter. “So often history is told as a procession of men. Born in 1914 as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler she grew up to be cast in the film Ecstasy which became banned in many places due to its seemingly controversial script involving a nudity and Lamarr acting the first female orgasm in a non-pornographic film. One of Hollywood’s most beautifully beguiling actresses ever, Lamarr was known over her quarter-century in cinema for such films as the Oscar-honored “Samson and Delilah (as the title’s sultry knockout), the heist drama “Algiers” (which was nominated for a handful of Oscars) and “Ecstasy,” the 1933 Czech film that was highly controversial for its nudity and sex scenes.

It was a great example of a collaboration.” Lamarr worked with composer George Antheil, who implemented her idea of allowing wireless radio transmissions to be sent and received without being intercepted. Another person who appeared to be against the film was her first husband, the munitions businessman Friedrich Mandl, who rounded-up as many copies as he could, according to the New York Times this was so the audiences didn’t see “the look on her face during the sex scenes.” Lamarr fled the marriage, changed her name and emigrated from Austria, first to London to perform on the West End and then to the USA where she continued to make films, reports the BBC. Not content with solely acting, Lamarr used her interest in science to think of ways she could help in the fight against the Nazis during the Second World War.

Lamarr, who was of Ukrainian-Hungarian Jewish heritage, eventually made her escape from spouse and situation — she wrote that she fled to France in disguise — and was discovered in Paris by MGM mogul Louis B. Lamarr, billed as the “world’s most beautiful woman,” spent the next decade acting opposite such stars as Clark Gable, Charles Boyer, Spencer Tracy and Judy Garland. The patent for ‘frequency hopping’ that Lamarr, who had a background in munitions, co-authored laid the base for technologies such as Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi. During World War II, though, Lamarr also put her mind to the war effort, determined to invent something that would help defeat Hitler. (Her first marriage had resulted not only in reportedly hosting the Fuhrer, but also in gaining knowledge of torpedoes.) She and California neighbor/composer George Antheil co-created a frequency-hopping system (using a player-piano roll) so radio-guided torpedoes could avoid interference jamming — an invention for which they received a patent in 1942, though the U.S. military would not employ the technology for two decades, during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Now who would have thought that a Hollywood actor from the 1940s, along with Antheil, would help develop technologies, which are used in the modern world. Lamarr began to be truly recognized for her scientific accomplishments — as her work laid the foundation for spread-spectrum communication technology — in the ’90s, in the last years of her life. Doodler Jennifer Hom created today’s doodle celebrating the birth anniversary of the Lamarr in different scenarios, an actor by day and an inventor by night. Last year, a century after her birth, she was inducted into the in Alexandria, Va. “Although Lamarr and Antheil never profited from their invention during their lifetime,” the Hall of Fame site says, “it was acknowledged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1997 as an important development in wireless communications.” “We love highlighting great stories about women’s achievements in science and technology,” Doodle artist Jennifer Hom writes on the company’s blog. “When the story involves a 1940s Hollywood star-turned-inventor who helped develop technologies we all use with our smartphones today … well, we just have to share it with the world.”

At 19, Lamarr had married Friedrich Mandl, a munitions manufacturer, from whom she was forced to flee in 1937, but from whom she serendipitously learned a lot about various weapons technology, including torpedo control systems. The movies presented her in magnificent close-up.” “You have her always presented as surface, and it was very hard for her to go beyond that,” Basinger said. “Her surface was so spectacular. In August 1942, they were granted a patent for a “Secret Communication System” that would reduce the danger of detection or jamming for radio-controlled torpedoes.

Subsequent patents in frequency changing have referred to the Lamarr-Antheil patent as the basis of the field, and the concept lies behind the principal anti-jamming devices used today. In 2008, he praised her work in “The Strange Woman” from 1946. “She was difficult to cast,” Osborne said. “When you’re that beautiful, you can’t play an ordinary person walking down the street. She was great for ‘Samson and Delilah.'” “All the color drained out of her face,” Osborne said. “The first thing people asked about Hedy was: How did she look? Basinger’s affection grew to respect. “Any woman, movie star or not, born with the exceptional beauty that was Hedy Lamarr’s is not in for an easy time of it,” she said. “She found her way out of it.

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