Former Doobie Brother ‘Skunk’ Baxter to Receive Hedy Lamarr Science & Tech Award at EarthX Conference

"Skunk" is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his lead guitar work with mega-hit bands including The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and Spirit. But like legendary Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, he's also an unsung hero of technology, with decades of work as a missile and national security expert. That side of his career will grab the spotlight in Dallas on April 22 during the five-day Earthx2024 conference.

Hedy Lamarr was one of Hollywood’s top actresses from the 1930s to 1950s. What millions didn’t know was that in her spare time, she was a noted inventor. During World War II, she co-invented a radio guidance system for U.S. and Allied torpedoes featuring spread-spectrum and frequency-hopping technology. Though that solution wasn’t adopted at the time, some of its basic technology later found its way into mobile phones, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. The actress’s other inventions included an improved stoplight and a drink-carbonation tablet.

Lamarr isn’t the only star to emerge from pop culture as a little-known tech whiz. Take Jeffrey Allen “Skunk” Baxter.

The former lead guitarist for mega-hit bands including The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and Spirit, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He’s also—unbelievably, at least to this longtime fan—”a missile and national security expert working for decades with some or our nation’s most advanced technical laboratories, national security agencies, and military branches,” according to Dallas-based EarthX.

At EarthX’s 2024 Congress of Conferences at the Hilton Anatole on Monday, April 22, Baxter will be honored with the AFS Hedy Lamarr Unsung Heroes in Science & Technology Award, an honor recognizing outstanding contributions to science and technology.

‘Invaluable contributions’

“His invaluable contributions to national security agencies and military branches have spanned decades, making him a perfect recipient for the Hedy Lamarr Award,” EarthX said in a statement.

The award acknowledges people who have “worked behind the scenes or broken barriers” to provide innovative solutions, inventions, and methodologies “that enhance our daily lives and bolster our national security.

The award will be presented by David Hamilton and Trammell Crow Jr. 

More on April’s Earthx2024 conference

Image: EarthX

From April 22 to April 26, EarthX will be hosting Earthx2024, an “unprecedented” Congress of Conferences, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.

The ninth annual event will bring together thousands of people and organizations from around the world to collaborate on actionable solutions for energy, oceans, climate, business, policy, and more.

The five-day conference will feature more than 80 speakers and sessions exploring a wide range of sustainability topics. This year, each day will highlight a unique theme, including “The Future of Energy,” “Circular Economy,” “Money, Power, and Politics,” “Oceans and Philanthropy,” and “Wildlife and Ocean Conservation.”

You can learn more about the event and other EarthX news by reading our February story here.

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