Meet Katie Bouman, The Scientist Behind The First-Ever Black Hole Image
- IWB Post
- April 11, 2019
Yesterday was a huge day for science as we got our first direct look of the black hole. But what made this whole achievement special was that it was a woman – computer scientist Katie Bouman behind this success.
An MIT grad, Bouman is a postdoctoral fellow working with the Event Horizon Telescope team that released the seemingly impossible-to-capture image. It was three years ago, when Bouman started making an algorithm, to capture the black hole while she was a graduate student at MIT. Her algorithm stitched together data collected from radio telescopes around the world, effectively turning the entire planet into a large satellite dish in an endeavour called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project.
Talking to a portal in 2016, Bouman had said, “Just like how radio frequencies will go through walls, they pierce through galactic dust. We would never be able to see into the center of our galaxy in visible wavelengths because there’s too much stuff in between. Taking a picture of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy is equivalent to taking an image of a grapefruit on the moon, but with a radio telescope.”
While social media lauded her for the success of her project, she said, “No one of us could’ve done it alone. It came together because of lots of different people from many different backgrounds.”
Congratulating her on Twitter, New York Democratic Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote:
Take your rightful seat in history, Dr. Bouman! 🔭 Congratulations and thank you for your enormous contribution to the advancements of science and mankind. Here’s to #WomenInSTEM! 👩🏻🔬👩🏾💻👩🏼🏭👩🏿🏫 https://t.co/3cs9QYrz9C