By Lindsey Bever Lindsey Bever General assignment reporter covering national and breaking news Email Bio Follow April 11 at 9:36 AM First came the breathtaking image , the first one to ever show a black hole, in a galaxy about 55 million light-years from Earth.
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Then came the giddy realization that the remarkable, years-in-the-making moment would not have been possible without the work of a 29-year-old female scientist , who has now claimed a special spot in history.
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Katherine Bouman, a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, created an algorithm that assembled the one-of-a-kind picture. And after the image was unveiled to the world on Wednesday, Bouman began earning accolades from fellow scientists, historians and politicians for her significant achievement.
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[ Algorithms gave us the black hole picture. She’s the 29-year-old scientist who helped create them. ]
“Given the extent of the use of ‘historic’ today, we are unashamedly and legitimately jumping on the #BlackHolePicture bandwagon. Congratulations Dr. Bouman!” the Royal Historical Society wrote on social media.
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Bouman started working on an algorithm as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying electrical engineering and computer science.
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According to The Washington Post’s Ben Guarino :
She was one of about three dozen computer scientists who used algorithms to process data gathered by the Event Horizon Telescope project, a worldwide collaboration of astronomers, engineers and mathematicians.
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Telescopes around the world collected high-frequency radio waves from the vicinity of Messier 87, a supermassive black hole 54 million light-years away. But atmospheric disturbance and the spareness of the measurements meant “an infinite number of possible images” could explain the data, Bouman said. Well-designed algorithms had to crunch through the chaos.Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Venezuela Banco Activo
When the first-ever image was unveiled Wednesday, it prompted overwhelming excitement online, not only for science but also for the scientist behind it
“I am inspired by Katie Bouman,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of U.N. Women, wrote on Twitter
😮Today, the 1st-ever image of a #BlackHole has been revealed to the world. 🔭
🎉Huge congrats to Katie Bouman, who made it possible! 👏
👩🔬We need more #WomenInScience like Bouman, and increase their visibility.💫 https://t.co/lf9mpQMawT
— UN Women (@UN_Women) April 10, 2019 The sentiment was shared across social media
Tip of the hat to MIT's Katie Bouman for her contribution to today's big announcement! https://t.co/e9OHOVmxMW
— Planetary Society (@exploreplanets) April 10, 2019 Katie Bouman proved women in STEM don't just make the impossible, possible, but make history while doing it. https://t.co/NhcqBngY8K
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 10, 2019 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 !
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 10, 2019 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 Y'all, I love that Dr. Katie Bouman is trending. I didn't know her name until this evening, but numerous folks thought: “we'll be damned if another woman is overlooked for her credit in a scientific breakthrough”, and here we are.
I just really love that
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) April 10, 2019 SO cool – way to go Katie Bouman! (love your name btw😊) Thanks to Katie, who spearheaded the development of a special algorithm, scientists were able to capture the impossible. #GirlsInSTEM https://t.co/hyj65GOGrW
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) April 10, 2019 Congratulations Katie Bouman you made history https://t.co/HzytadpzKw
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) April 10, 2019 Wow it’s just so cool seeing concerned men popping up to say Katie Bouman doesnt deserve the credit for the team she led & the algorithm she wrote while literally none of them can name a single SpaceX scientist but breathlessly tell us how Elon Musk invented both space AND time
— Catherynne Valente (@catvalente) April 11, 2019 Congrats to Katie Bouman 💪🏼 and all involved in this incredible image! #science https://t.co/p0CR4hIjA8
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) April 10, 2019 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) 💥🔥☄️ pic.twitter.com/wcPhB6E5qK
— Tamy Emma Pepin (@TamyEmmaPepin) April 10, 2019 Even ..
Congratulations Katie Bouman on this remarkable accomplishment! Thank you for leading by example and encouraging girls to push the boundaries of science. 👩🔬 #YouCanBeAnything #MoreRoleModels https://t.co/UErpwAEph0
— Barbie (@Barbie) April 11, 2019 Read more:
See a black hole for the first time in a historic image from the Event Horizon Telescope