March is National Women’s History Month and today I am focusing on Women Inventors. These are the DIVAS who have made our lives easier, more comfortable and more secure and we should all kick up our high heels in thanks and celebration.
The DIVA for today is Hedy Lamarr. You may think of her as "the most beautiful woman in the world", as a film actress and a movie star, but this DIVA was far more than that. She was a woman of intelligence, humanity, creativity and invention!
Thanks to Hedy Lamar you can have a secure conversation on your cell phone. As a result of events in her personal life, Lamar invented the spread spectrum communication, an anti-rocket frequency hopping device, as a way to guide torpedoes to their target without being intercepted by the enemy.Wanting to help the war effort, Hedy Lamarr and a musician friend, George Antheil, developed a technology based on the player piano that would change the radio frequency of a signal, thus blocking an enemy from intercepting and jamming the signal.
Though never used in World War II this device is now at the core of modern cell phone technology. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) uses spread spectrum technology because the encryption allows for better security and privacy for cell phone users. Additionally, spread spectrum allows for simultaneous communication over the same bands without noticable interference, allowing for shared frequencies and more bandwidth for increasing demand.
So, my dear DIVAS, you can thank this amazingly beautiful and talented DIVA of invention, Ms. Hedy Lamarr, the next time you pick up your cell phone to make a call or surf the internet!
Other inventions by women that have changed the world we live in for the better:
1812 - Tabitha Babbitt invented the circular saw.
1864 - Sarah P. Mather invented the submarine telescope.
1867 - Elizabeth Hawk invented the cooking stove.
1871 - Margaret Colvin invented the washing machine.
1886 - Josephine Cochrane invented the dishwasher.
1887 - Anna Connelly invented the fire escape.
1903 - Mary Anderson - invented a window cleaning device for street cars that eventually became the forefunner to the windshield wiper.
1914 - Florence Parpart invented the refrigerator.
1917 - Ida Forbes invented the electric hot water heater.
1930 - Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie (ok, technically a recipe not an invention, but where would DIVAs be without Chocolate Chip Cookies?
1946 - Marion Donovan invented the disposable diaper.
1956 - Patsy O. Sherman invented Scotchgard.
1956 - Bette Nesmith Graham (mother of Michael Nesmith,member of The Monkees!) invented "Mistake Out" later named Liquid Paper
1965 - Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, the material used in the making of bullet proof vests.
To learn more about your DIVA sisters who paved the way for you:
National Women's History Project
Women Nobel Prize Winners
Women Pulitzer Prize Winners
The National Parks Historic Places, Womens History Month
New Jersey Women - History: Clara Barton
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.