Who is Katie Bouman? Know the woman behind first black hole image

Who is Katie Bouman? Know the woman behind first black hole image

Bouman, 29, a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, had been working on such an algorithm for nearly six years, since she was a graduate student at MIT. "The ring came so easily".

The world saw that ring - a swirl of light and substance revealing the shadow of an unseeable mass - on Wednesday, when a team of more than 200 researchers presented a picture of the black hole lying at the center of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy.

Bouman played an important role by helping "form the algorithm that made the visualization (of the black hole) a reality", as reported by CBS News. "You have no way of saying what I would do", she replied. "Like right now I'm going to tell you to go f*** yourself". Together, they formed an Earth-sized "virtual" telescope - one powerful enough to do what had once seemed impossible.

Junior members like Bouman made significant contributions to the project, he added. Overall, studies suggest that only about 30% of the world's researchers are women. I'm gonna take a wild guess that you're a f***ing idiot. Her background was in computer science and electrical engineering, and she got involved in the project while pursuing a Ph.D.in computer vision.

Just to clarify, this was the first image *ANYONE EVER MADE* of a black hole.

How did her algorithm create the image?

'She lead the team, didn't she?

Further, Bouman prepared a large database of synthetic astronomical images and the measurements they would yield at different telescopes, given random fluctuations in atmospheric noise, thermal noise from the telescopes themselves, and other types of noise. And while he was the primary author of one piece of software that worked on imaging the black hole, the team used multiple different approaches to avoid bias.


Happily, it turned out that those were one and the same. "We are trying to bring in graduate students and postdocs and a younger generation that is excited to work on this".

Bouman says that most of the time she's not focused on the fact that she's in a field where women are the minority. "But I do sometimes think about it".

'The thing that kinda bugs me about it is that the only quotes I've seen from her are the usual part-of-a-team couldn't-do-it-alone type stuff, ' one Reddit user wrote. "A historic moment not just for science, but for women in science".

It was a huge day for science as Earthlings viewed the first picture of the black hole yesterday, on April 10.

Bouman is still starting out in her own career.

Bouman is a postdoctoral fellow with ETH and an assistant professor in the CMS department at Caltech.

As news spread of Bouman's work developing an algorithm for the Event Horizon Telescope team, some people on social media and YouTube promoted a conspiracy theory that another male developer on the team, Andrew Chael, did significantly more work on the process.

Unfortunately, a conventional telescope required for viewing the black hole would need to be as big as the earth itself, and that might not give a clear picture. He also expressed appreciation for her efforts to credit her colleagues, many of whom are women.

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