Do you know who invented Wi-Fi? Read this & you may respect women now! You better!
Imagine a world without WiFi, internet, social media and all other forms of wireless communication. Can you even think about such kind of world? Pretty scary thought, right? Don’t you think that the inventor (or co-inventor) of the technology which made all sorts of wireless communication possible deserve a remembrance? What if I told you that one of co-founders of this technology was a woman? But what if I told you that this woman also happened to be one of the most beautiful European women of her generation and a star during MGM’s “golden age”? Do I have your attention now?
The lady I am talking about happens to be an Austrian born actress and inventor- Hedy Lamarr. She certainly had an illustrious and exciting life, dying at just over 85 years of age (in 2000, the new millennium). Discussing the various aspects of her life can span many coffee table sessions. She wasn’t shy of changing partners for the sake of finding the right man; indeed, she married six times, her spouses ranging from a highly decorated naval officer to a prominent Nazi munitions manufacturer to her own divorce lawyer! However, just like so many women get more attention over their body than their mind, Hedy Lamarr got less recognition for her contribution to the advancement of wireless communication and more for being one of the most prominent “sex-symbol” of the 1940s.
Most of the women who have made it big in their lives have to fight some or other sort of social barrier during the course of their journey, and Lamarr was no different. Her first husband, Friedrich Mandl, a Nazi arms manufacturer and one of the richest men in Europe, was a man who objected to what he felt was the exploitation of his wife in the provocative roles offered to her. Lamarr had to run away from her repressive husband by disguising herself as one of her maids and jumping out of the window. Lamarr was a woman who managed to stand out in whatever she did. As an actor, she will always be remembered as a woman who managed to push the boundaries of cinema through her groundbreaking roles. As an inventor, she will be noted for her work in developing a technique for frequency hopping, a patent, which she gave free of cost to the US Navy. And although her idea was not implemented until twenty years later, the work she has done remains imperative even today. And finally, as a person, she will always be remembered as a woman who was not afraid to make choices, who was not fearful of breaking the norm, who was the true epitome of the phrase “ beauty with brains”.
———– About the author: The article has been contributed by our intern, Prateek Singhal.