Katie Bouman, the Scientist Behind the First-Ever Black Hole Image, is Now an Internet Star
MIT graduate and scientist Katie Bouman led the creation of an algorithm that helped humanity witness the first ever image of the black hole.
Image posted by Katie Bouman on Facebook.
"Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed," wrote an ecstatic 29-year-old Katie Bouman, the scientist, who led the creation of an imaging algorithm that helped humanity witness the first-ever image of a Supermassive Black Hole.
On April 10, 2019 (mark the date), an event of literally astronomical importance to the scientific world and the theory of worlds in general, took place, with the first actual image of a Supermassive Black Hole was taken and released to the public by the Event Horizon Telescope.
The telescope - a network of eight radio telescopes stationed at different points of the world - managed to capture an image of the black hole that sits in the centre of Messier 87 galaxy and is 6.5 billion times the size of our sun and is located 55 lightyears away from Earth.
Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun pic.twitter.com/AymXilKhKe— Event Horizon 'Scope (@ehtelescope) April 10, 2019
Not the fastest jet nor even light can escape black hole, the fact that the image proves Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, didn't escape the conversation among scientists either.
A massive day for science and for the woman scientists, MIT CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory), tweeted out a photo of Katie Bouman, chronicling her successful journey with the Twitterverse.
"3 years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole. Today, that image was released."
3 years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole.— MIT CSAIL (@MIT_CSAIL) April 10, 2019
Today, that image was released.
More info: https://t.co/WITAL1omGl
2016 story: https://t.co/QV7Zf2snEP#EHTblackhole #EventHorizonTelescope pic.twitter.com/u6FBswmGDZ
Realising the importantance of the image, Twitter made it a point to spread Katie's photo, for, netizens didn't want her achievement to get sucked into a black hole.
"Congratulations to Katie Bouman to whom we owe the first photograph of a black hole ever. Not seeing her name circulate nearly enough in the press. Amazing work. And here’s to more women in science (getting their credit and being remembered in history) ☄️" wrote one user.
Congratulations to Katie Bouman to whom we owe the first photograph of a black hole ever. Not seeing her name circulate nearly enough in the press.— Tamy Emma Pepin (@TamyEmmaPepin) April 10, 2019
Amazing work. And here’s to more women in science (getting their credit and being remembered in history) ☄️ pic.twitter.com/wcPhB6E5qK
A BBC photo of Katie Bouman photographed with a stack of hard disks used to combine data and process Supermassive Black Hole image reminded Twitter users of Margaret Hamilton's iconic photo of her with Apollo Guidance Computer source code (that got us to the moon!) she and her team developed back in 1969.
Computer scientist Katie Bouman and her awesome stack of hard drives for #EHTblackhole image data — reminds me of Margaret Hamilton and her Apollo Guidance Computer source code. pic.twitter.com/MgOXiDCAKi— Flora Graham (@floragraham) April 10, 2019
Left: MIT computer scientist Katie Bouman w/stacks of hard drives of black hole image data.— MIT CSAIL (@MIT_CSAIL) April 10, 2019
Right: MIT computer scientist Margaret Hamilton w/the code she wrote that helped put a man on the moon.
(image credit @floragraham)#EHTblackhole #BlackHoleDay #BlackHole pic.twitter.com/Iv5PIc8IYd
Twitter knew what to do.
1969: Margaret Hamilton alongside the code that got us to the moon— Ben Halpern (@bendhalpern) April 10, 2019
2019: Katie Bouman alongside the data that got us to the black hole pic.twitter.com/aIPOtdfA3F
Today, the 1st-ever image of a #BlackHole has been revealed to the world.— UN Women (@UN_Women) April 10, 2019
Huge congrats to Katie Bouman, who made it possible!
We need more #WomenInScience like Bouman, and increase their visibility. https://t.co/lf9mpQMawT
Katie Bouman — a grad student!! — created the algorithm that allowed a network of telescopes to work together and capture the first ever image of a black hole. She should be a household name after this. Let’s HOLLA FOR WOMEN IN STEM!! #WomenInSTEM #STEMeducation https://t.co/T8z9hXnZlh— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) April 11, 2019
Her name is Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate.— Jen Zhu (@jenzhuscott) April 10, 2019
3 years ago she led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole we are seeing today. #BlackHole #EventHorizonTelescope pic.twitter.com/peZcLSjQmJ
really good days are when an astronomical discovery is made. the BEST days are when a woman is behind that discovery—and getting her due credit.— Sarafina Nance (@starstrickenSF) April 10, 2019
this is Katie Bouman, and she created the algorithm that produced the first ever image of a black hole.
Important fact: Dr Katie Bouman is only 29. pic.twitter.com/MMFR0ytcvi— Marina Amaral (@marinamaral2) April 10, 2019
The woman behind the ground-breaking 1st ever image of a blackhole (at the centre of the M87 galaxy) is MIT's Dr Katie Bouman. She led the creation of the algorithm that enabled the image to be processed.— Grace Speaker (@Grace_Speaker) April 10, 2019
Excellent work Dr Bouman!!! pic.twitter.com/jsb9hT7QcA
Congratulations to Katie Bouman who is responsible for the first photograph of a black hole ever.— Travis Allen (@TravisAllen02) April 10, 2019
Her name is not being circulated enough!
Retweet to thank her for this historic achievement! ☄️ pic.twitter.com/zgWgjFznBh
Meet Katie Bouman— Salik Khan (@baawraman) April 10, 2019
She wrote the Algorithm which produced the first-ever image of a black hole. The Algorithm stitches together a network of eight linked telescopes.
Together, they form the Event Horizon Telescope and can be thought of as a planet-sized array of dishes. pic.twitter.com/cMfi33AsJT
Katie, on the other hand, ensured that her team, who meticulously worked with her over the years to achieve such a feat, were recognised by everyone.
"I'm so excited that we finally get to share what we have been working on for the past year! The image shown today is the combination of images produced by multiple methods. No one algorithm or person made this image, it required the amazing talent of a team of scientists from around the globe and years of hard work to develop the instrument, data processing, imaging methods, and analysis techniques that were necessary to pull off this seemingly impossible feat. It has been truly an honor, and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with you all," Katie wrote on her Facebook page.
But how did she manage to take the picture of Supermassive Black Hole?
Katie explained how a picture of the ultimate dark using the Event Horizon Telescope could be taken back in 2016 during her TED talk - How to take a picture of a black hole.
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