Stand Still & Look Stupid recounts the largely unknown life story of Hedy Lamarr. Most people today are largely unfamiliar with Lamarr. Some people do know she was a popular actress during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Few people realize that Lamarr is one of the most important inventors of the past 100 years.
At the time of the Nazi annexation of Austria, Hedy Lamarr fled to the United States. Within a couple of years, she became one of the most talked-about actors on the silver screen. After her first U.S. motion picture, Lamarr was known as “the most beautiful girl in the world,” a moniker she would carry throughout her career . She made over 20 Hollywood films before leaving the industry and living most of the rest of her life in seclusion.
During World War II there was a shortage of men at home. Women occupied more STEM jobs than men, contributed in ways we will never know and were not acknowledged for it. And as soon as the boys came home, those jobs were filled by men and women went back to being secretaries -- and actresses.
The Women’s Rights Movement helped pave the way for change, but it has been a long road. In the United States today, women make up only 24% of people employed in STEM fields. One key to encouraging the next generation of women to pursue STEM careers is to give them role models to whom they can look for inspiration. Hedy Lamarr is one of those women. Hidden behind the beautiful face of a movie star was a brilliant inventor.
Spread spectrum technology, conceived by Hedy Lamarr, is indispensable for wireless communication. Her invention is described as the backbone of the digital communications age … from mobile phones to WiFi to GPS to Bluetooth to the barcode scanner at the market … and countless other technologies. Global communication exists … because of a woman once best known as the most beautiful girl in the world.
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