Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-born American actress. Max Reinhardt called her the “most beautiful woman in Europe” due to her “strikingly dark exotic looks”.
Mathematically talented, Lamarr came up with an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary for wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day.
The international beauty, along with co-inventor composer George Anthiel, developed a "Secret Communications System" to help combat the Nazis in World War II. By manipulating radio frequencies at irregular intervals between transmission and reception, the invention formed an unbreakable code to prevent classified messages from being intercepted by enemy personnel.
Lamarr and Anthiel received a secure secret patent in 1941, but the enormous significance of their invention was not realized until decades later. It was first implemented on naval ships during the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequently emerged in numerous military applications. But most importantly, the "spread spectrum" technology that Lamarr helped to invent would galvanize the digital communications boom, forming the technical backbone that makes cellular phones, fax machines and other wireless operations possible.