Inventor/actress Hedy Lamarr is the subject of a new bio by Richard Rhodes:
Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. New York: Doubleday, 2011.
In 1942 Lamarr and composer George Antheil patented (US 2292387) a “secret communication system” designed to prevent enemies from jamming radio-controlled torpedoes. The invention was based on radio “frequency-hopping” and forms the basis of modern wireless communications systems. Lamarr’s patent has been cited in 36 patents since 1976, including most recently in US 8031129, and in ~70 documents indexed in Google Scholar.