Project Description

Olga Holtz on Hedy Lamarr

Did you know film icon Hedy Lamarr invented the technology behind cellphones? True story. She wanted to help defeat the Nazis, but her scientific contribution was ignored. Decades later the full impact of her work was realized when her patent led to the creation of Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and smartphone technology. In this video, filmmaker and mathematician Olga Holtz tells the dazzling story of how “the most beautiful woman alive” was admired for her looks but ignored for her intellect.


Director: Julie Hébert
DP: Sevdije Kastrati
Editor: Jan Northrup
Sound: Corryn Deegan
Producer: Courtney Graham

More About…

Olga Holtz


Olga Holtz is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of California-Berkeley and a Visiting Professor of Applied Mathematics at Technical University Berlan and Berlin Mathematical School. She received her PhD in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has received several awards, including a Sofja Kovalevskaja award and two Von Neumann Fellowships. She is also an award-winning screenwriter and film director.

Hedy Lamarr


Hedy Lamarr was an actress in the “Golden Age” of MGM. She is known for the films Tortilla Flat, Lady of the Tropics, Boom Town, Samson and Delilah, and Ecstasy. She was originally from Vienna, Austria and was often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films.” In addition to being a film star, she and composer George Antheil patented a “Secret Communication System” to help the war effort during World War II. This technology paved the way for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Photos of Hedy Lamarr: Publicity photo for Comrade X, publicity photo for The Heavenly Body with graphic from “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” (Reframed Pictures).