Beautiful and brainy

During the 1940s, the public relations department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer promoted movie star Hedy Lamarr as “the most beautiful woman in the world.”

But Hedy had brains and beauty. Together with composer George Antheil, she invented spread-spectrum radio, the technology that made wireless phones, GPS systems and many other devices possible.

In his book Hedy’s Folly—the Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Richard Rhodes tells how deeply it annoyed Hedy when “few people saw beyond her beauty to her intelligence.”

“Any girl can be glamorous,” she once said. “All you have to do is stand still and look  stupid.”

Most people underestimated Hedy Lamarr, Rhodes concludes. “She deserved better.”

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