A Hollywood Celebrity, the “Bad Boy” of Music, and the History of Modern Wireless Communications

Mark Goresky, Long-term Member, School of Mathematics
Institute for Advanced Study
April 24, 2013

Cellular telephones, GPS, radar imaging, and most other modern wireless systems would not exist without the sophisticated mathematical and digital techniques that are used to encode and decode their messages. These “spread spectrum” methods, under continuous development since the 1960s, have facilitated spectacular improvements in the performance and reliability of wireless communications. In this lecture, Mark Goresky, Long-term Member in the School of Mathematics, explores how, to some extent, the origins of spread spectrum can be traced back to an unlikely collaboration in 1942 between a glamorous Hollywood film star and a renegade composer from Trenton, New Jersey.