Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Hedy s Folly The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr the Most Beautiful Woman in the World Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Rhodes delivers a remarkable story of science history how a ravishing film star and an avant garde composer invented spread spectrum radio the technology that ma

  • Title: Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World
  • Author: Richard Rhodes
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 467
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

    Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Rhodes delivers a remarkable story of science history how a ravishing film star and an avant garde composer invented spread spectrum radio, the technology that made wireless phones, GPS systems, and many other devices possible Beginning at a Hollywood dinner table, Hedy s Folly tells a wild story of innovation that culminates in U.S.Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Rhodes delivers a remarkable story of science history how a ravishing film star and an avant garde composer invented spread spectrum radio, the technology that made wireless phones, GPS systems, and many other devices possible Beginning at a Hollywood dinner table, Hedy s Folly tells a wild story of innovation that culminates in U.S patent number 2,292,387 for a secret communication system Along the way Rhodes weaves together Hollywood s golden era, the history of Vienna, 1920s Paris, weapons design, music, a tutorial on patent law and a brief treatise on transmission technology Narrated with the rigor and charisma we ve come to expect of Rhodes, it is a remarkable narrative adventure about spread spectrum radio s genesis and unlikely amateur inventors collaborating to change the world.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    One thought on “Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

    1. Carmen

      It annoyed her deeply, however, that few people saw beyond her beauty to her intelligence. "Any girl can be glamorous," she famously and acidly said. "All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."This book really annoyed me. I was surprised and intrigued when I found out that Hedy Lamarr was an inventor. "Great!" I thought. "I will read this book about a gorgeous woman who invented in her spare time. It will be feminist and exciting." WRONG!The book is boring and was also making me angr [...]

    2. The Library Lady

      This book suffers from schizophrenia. It is subtitled "The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr", but Rhodes does not manage to smoothly incorporate the two.Having done a pretty good job on Lamarr's early life, he abruptly switches to the life of her co-inventor George Antheil. And while Antheil may have been a heckuva interesting guy, we don't need to hear about the ups and downs of his life as a composer, details about Sylvia Beach's "Shakespeare and Company" store and his life in P [...]

    3. BAM The Bibliomaniac

      Hedy " invented to Challenge herself or bring order to a disorganized works", and still made movies and looked gorgeous. I can barely wash my face, brush my teeth, and put shoes on every dayThis is the perfect book for girls who think science is not for them. It proves that girls CAN!Lenten Buddy Reading Challenge book #6

    4. Jenny McPhee

      Larry Summers Eat Your Heart Out: Hollywood Bombshell Hedy Lamarr Invented A Sophisticated Weapons Technology Between FilmsWhat do Caroline Herschel, Ada Lovelace, Mary Somerville, Mary Anning, Lise Meitner, Emmy Noether, Jocelyn Bell, Rosalind Franklin, Vera Rubin, and Hedy Lamarr (among others) have in common? They each made extraordinary scientific discoveries that went unrecognized because they were women, many of them having to endure male colleagues taking credit for their work, then winni [...]

    5. Ann Fisher

      Such a disappointment. But I suppose if it had been titled "A little bit about Hedy Lamarr and a lot about some composer you've never heard of" not as many people would pick it up. Rhodes is so focused on the invention that we get whole chapters in which Lamarr doesn't appear at all. It's also disappointing that several times the story looks like it's building to some exciting climax--Hedy is gathering secret information she can use to blackmail her husband so she can escape, they're perfecting [...]

    6. Cynthia

      Other’s have said that the first third of this book is slow but if you’re interested in reading a who’s who in the arts in the few decades before the second World War, especially in Vienna and Paris, you’ll find nothing slow about the first section. They’re all here: Stravinsky, the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Picasso, etc.* There’s nothing in depth about them….’s more a splash of color. The story is centered on Hedy and the very beginning of her acting career as well as that of her [...]

    7. David Schwan

      A short history of Hedy Lamarr's an George Antheil's invention of Spread Spectrum radio. I spent a decade designing direct sequence spread spectrum radios for cordless phones, and was already aware of the underlining technology. This book gives some insight about where Hedy Lamarr got her inspiration. This book also gives us a mini biography of the American composer George Anhteil. I would liked to have read more about the invention but it appears that significant parts of the story are still cl [...]

    8. Jackie

      Hedy's Lamarr was far, far more than a pretty face. She was a human sponge, seemingly remote and beautiful but always listening and storing away information. Especially during her first marriage, to the head of a munitions company. It helped her to build a better torpedo, though no one knew that for years as the patented technology languished in the Navy's classified files. Finally, in 1999, she was recognized as being a Pioneer of Science. We should think of her every day, because her idea is t [...]

    9. Bronwyn

      If this book had been titled anything but what it was, I wouldn't really have any complaints. As it is though, I feel the title is misleading. I'd say only about half the book is about Hedy Lamarr, the rest about George Antheil and their invention. I understand that the invention having two creators means you have to talk about them both, but then don't make the book sound like it's about Hedy Lamarr only and her inventions. It's a joint biography, and really only one invention is discussed in d [...]

    10. Bettie☯

      e driveRead by Bernadette DunneAustro-American actress and mathematician, celebrated for her great beauty, who was a major contract star of MGM's "Golden Age."9 November 1913 – 19 January 2000

    11. Karin

      Movie star Hedy Lamarr, who divorced six men, who had both beauty and brains, invented in her free time. She worked with writer and composer George Antheil to invent the basis for the technology used in much of modern communications, although it was originally invented in hopes that the US Navy would use it in WW II, which it didn't. This follows her life from the time she began her acting career, though multiple marriages, ending with her finally being recognized for it when she was already aro [...]

    12. Mal Warwick

      Nazi Generals, Wireless Torpedoes, and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"A quarter-century ago Richard Rhodes won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for a masterful history, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, and he has received numerous plaudits in the years since, both for nonfiction and fiction. But I don’t see any prizes in his future for this half-hearted little effort.There’s nothing lacking in the material. It’s relatively well-known that Hedy Lamarr, a stunning film superstar of MGM [...]

    13. Gail Cooke

      It makes a remarkable story is the way the author describes Hedy Lamarr’s partnering with George Antheil “to invent a fundamental new wireless technology.” Indeed, it is a remarkable story and ably told by Richard Rhodes. Hedy’s Folly is a unique pairing in more ways than one. First, who would believe that the woman who owned the sobriquet “the most beautiful woman in the world” and created a scandal by baring all in an erotic 10 minute film scene when she was but 17 could possibly [...]

    14. Tegan

      I was greatly disappointed by this book. It presents itself as the story of Hedy Lamarr as more than just beauty, but instead meanders all over history of those years in a poorly connected narrative. At least half of the book is devoted to George Antheil and his self-promotional life, including an afterword addressing his music and his family after his death. The rest of the book largely looks at Hedy as a woman who flitted through life, with out much exposition her her achievements and intellig [...]

    15. Joshua

      Hedy's Folly is a short work of non-fiction from Richard Rhodes [he usually writes epics connected to science about the atom bomb] that looks at the unlikely inventor Hedy Lamarr, movie star from the 1930s and 1940s. Hedy's Folly is more a 2.5, but no half scores on , so I'm going 2 stars for this due to the fact that no matter how brief, it still feels a little flimsy as it unfolds. It almost feels like an extended essay to me rather than that of a book. She co-invented an early version of spre [...]

    16. Adam Tschorn

      Hedy Lamarr, a legend of Hollywood's Golden Age and siren of the silver screen who starred in movies such as "Algiers," "White Cargo" and "Samson and Delilah" in the late 1930s and '40s, is remembered today mostly for her exquisite feminine pulchritude. Think of her as the Farrah Fawcett (the red bathing suit pinup-poster version) of her day — a Viennese-born actress whose physical attributes earned her the sobriquet of "the most beautiful woman in the world."And, in the seven decades since La [...]

    17. Judy

      This is a book that really needs 1/2 stars! I'm giving it 3 stars (like most readers) because it does get clunky and begins to disintegrate once the Navy (view spoiler)[turns down Hedy & Antiel's patent (hide spoiler)], but worthy of 3 1/2 stars. However, it is a great story. After all, what's not to like about an actress who invents for a hobby and a composer who helps her? Despite the need for tighter writing, this book deserves more readers/listeners if for no other reason the knowledge o [...]

    18. Nicholas

      Completely false advertising. A more appropriate title would be: The History of the People Involved with Broadcast Information Technology and a Study of Historical Developments in the Field. You know why they don't do that? Because no one would read it. There is about as much space devoted to the life of George Antheil in this book as there is to the eponymous Hedy Lamar, and yet there is no mention of the quirky composer on the cover at all. Those thinking they're going to get a vindicating rev [...]

    19. David

      A fun and quirky lighthearted history, of the sort that makes you want to say “Ain't the world a funny place” or something equally profound. Also, it's short enough so you can finish the public library ebook before comes along and yanks it off your book reader.Once her invention is invented, the book veers away from her life (supposedly the subject of the book, according to the title), so we don't learn much about her marriage, film careers, legal battles, and so forth. In addition, devotee [...]

    20. Gayle

      Although this story includes fascinating information that I never knew about Hedy Lamarr, it is a story. Not in the sense that it isn't true, but in the sense that it is like my grandfather and great aunts and uncles told stories to my cousins and I when we were young. Everything the oldsters told us was fascinating and new to us, but occasionally the original story got lost in another story, that got lost in a third storyuntil sometimes we would request a new telling of the original, or have to [...]

    21. Jaylia3

      Beautiful, driven and smart, Austrian-born Hollywood movie star Hedy Lamarr liked to spend her spare time inventing things. Since she had listened when her first husband and his commercial cronies talked about weapons systems and the armaments business at their fancy, formal dinner parties, Hedy knew a surprising amount about the working mechanisms of the submarines Germans were using with such destructive force in the early days of WWII, so when she met iconoclastic and perennially broke compos [...]

    22. Carl Rollyson

      Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000) is probably the only Hollywood star who had a drafting table in her home and a dedicated work space to concentrate on her inventions. Her unusual collaboration with composer George Antheil during WW II, when she conceived of a weapon that could attack German submarines that were devastating Allied shipping, has received the full attention of biographers Ruth Barton (Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film) and Stephen Michael Shearer (Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lam [...]

    23. Megan

      Immensely readable, but it manages to be both short and unfocused. It's the biography of the invention of frequency hopping (SO COOL) more than an account of Hedy's life (I was left puzzled by threads that remained dangling. Like, did her mother ever immigrate to the U.S.? And why did she and her first son become estranged? I AM A NOSY PERSON, YOU CAN'T JUST MENTION THESE THINGS AND NOT ELABORATE. Excuse me while I go to for my answers!). There was soooo much focus on the earlier influences/liv [...]

    24. Margaret Sankey

      Is there anyone better at explaining 1940s technology to laypeople than Richard Rhodes? In this book, he describes the 1940 Hollywood encounter of Hedy Lamarr, actress, ex-wife of an Austrian munitions magnate and creative genius and George Antheil, avant-garde composer, player-piano expert and gland theory crackpot. With their combined expertise, and a Philco remote radio channel changer, they invented and patented a method by which a torpedo could be guided and that directional signal protecte [...]

    25. Jenny T

      A fascinating look into Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr's collaboration with avant-garde composer George Antheil in the invention of the "spread spectrum" radio jamming device used to control torpedoes (a technology later adopted by GPS, cell phones, etc.).The subject was interesting and the book well-researched, but I was expecting more of a biography of Ms. Lamarr, her personality and contributions. Instead, we get a condensed history of the art movement in the 1920s, brief mention of a few of he [...]

    26. Leilani

      The early sections about Hedy Lamarr's life in pre-war Austria and her co-inventor's life in pre-war Paris were colorful and interesting, and the section about the big invention itself (a frequency-hopping technique designed to help guide torpedoes) stayed clear enough, but once the Navy declined to do anything with their idea at the time, the book basically says "then they got old and died." A little more biographical information would have been nice. And after the first section, Hedy Lamarr se [...]

    27. Amy Bond

      I was really looking forward to reading a book about a smart woman in history - naturally, this seemed like a good choice since people have been raving about it. Having read it now, I wonder if those people actually read this book. Over half of it isn't even about Hedy Lamarr - it is more a biography about her co-inventor George Antheil, who, while interesting, was a weird off topic focus of most of the book. Besides that, the parts that were about Hedy Lamarr were interesting but barely scraped [...]

    28. J.V. Seem

      I never really understood what it was that actress Hedy Lamarr invented (something to do with the steering of a torpedo), and sadly, this book is no help. It's true that I'm not the most technically minded, though. What's more interesting to me is Hedy Lamarr's life and what lead her to invent, but as for Hedy herself, this book barely scratches the surface. Which is a shame, as she's very interesting.You'd do better by checking out the excellently written episode on her by Karina Longworth on t [...]

    29. Adam

      I feel as though I know the same amount about Hedy Lamar as I did when I finished the book jacket. Incredible woman and incredible story, shoddily researched written and told. The author is prone to extraordinary tangents and then gives short shrift to his ostensible subject. Why do I need two pages on the amateur theater habits of the head of the committee in charge of reviewing submissions of inventions to the war department when her second marriage gets a paragraph. What a waste. I hope someo [...]

    30. Jodi

      This book had a fabulous premise. Actress Hedy Lamar was also an inventor and invented critical technology used (or should have been used) during World War II. It started well. We learn about Hedy's early life. But then we switch players to George Antheil, a composer, who worked with Hedy on her invention. More than half of the book is devoted to Antheil but his wasn't the story I wanted to hear. The information on Hedy was thin. While she was eventually recognized by EFF with the Pioneer award [...]

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