The Hedy & Hopp brand is built on a foundation of celebrating those who push boundaries and create unexpected connections resulting in a positive impact. Our namesakes, Hedy Lamarr and Grace Hopper, did just that, blazing their own trails in technology and innovation. However, while Grace received recognition and monetary contributions, Hedy was wrongly stereotyped by society as simply a beautiful face instead of a brilliant inventor.
The dichotomy between the uncelebrated inventor and the acclaimed boundary pusher is the inspiration behind Hedy & Hopp. We make an active choice to celebrate innovations and technological contributions, whether the inventor shows up the way society expects them to or not.
That iPhone in your pocket wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the genius of one of the most beautiful, and brilliant, women ever to grace Hollywood and the silver screen. Hedy Lamarr didn’t just beguile audiences with her film performances, or start her own independent film production company when nobody did such a thing, she was an accomplished inventor who defied expectations.
While most just saw her as a beauty, she had an interest in science since childhood and spent much of her free time tinkering with inventions. During World War II, the Nazis easily interfered with the Allies’ torpedoes because there was no way to encrypt the communications directing the torpedos. Undaunted by the lack of women given the ability to solve this, or any other military problem at the time, Lamarr conceived of a way to spread the signal spectrum using a method of frequency hopping which encrypts the signal.
The Navy didn’t take her seriously and she didn’t receive a patent for her work until after the war. But Lamarr’s invention of spread spectrum technology is the basis for Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth technologies and the reason you and your iPhone are inseparable. For her brilliance and contributions to science, Hedy Lamarr was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. For us, she is an inspiration of intelligence, perseverance, grit, grace and ingenuity.
This very minute there are thousands of students learning to write code while studying to be computer engineers. But not one line of that code is useful without a complier. And that’s exactly what Grace Hopper invented and what turns programming code into machine language…and what makes a computer actually useful.
Grace Hopper’s life was one of constantly pushing boundaries, creating change and refusing to let the status quo stay status. Or quo. In 1934 she received a PhD in math, one of only a handful of women to earn such a degree at that point in history; and during a period between 1862 and 1934 where only 1,300 women or men received a PhD in math. Hopper was also key in developing COBOL, the first high-level programming language that hastened the adoption of computer use by American businesses. In addition to inventing the future, she also added to the language.
After finding a moth on a computer relay switch which prevented the computer from working, she noted that a bug had been found, and then popularized the term “de-bugging” to refer to repairing errant computer operations. Grace Hopper was, during her career, one of the Navy’s few female admirals and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for her ground-breaking work with computer technology. For us, she’s an inspiration of wisdom, leadership, wit, savvy and intellect.