Scientist superstar Katie Bouman designed algorithm for black hole image

Eloise Marshall
October 8, 2019

Dr. Katie Bouman, the MIT and Caltech professor and researcher who led the team that created the first black hole image, was plainly just sitting there on Twitter, completely ignored by the mainstream media, but not by this Zennie62Media founding blogger or his Oakland News Now blog.

How did her algorithm create the image?

Katie Bouman, an MIT grad, helped develop a computer program while still in school. Though Bouman was one of several women who worked on the Event Horizon Telescope team, the majority of her colleagues on the project were men.

Fortunately, legit scientists from MIT were swift to applaud Bouman's work.

"You're basically looking at a supermassive black hole that's nearly the size of our entire solar system", said Sera Markoff, professor at the University of Amsterdam, "and, in fact, that's part of the reason we can see it even though it's so far away".

'Katie Bouman very clearly did not invent the algorithm, nor was she a significant member of the engineering team, ' another added.

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Now playing: Watch this: Black Hole Hunters: See the moment scientists saw the. "We just expected a blob". She wrote alongside, "Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed". "What I did was brought the culture of testing ourselves", she says.

A network of eight radio observatories on six mountains and four continents observed a black hole in Messier 87, a supergiant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo, on and off for 10 days in April of 2017 to make the image. "However, you might be surprised to know that that may soon change", Bouman said.

Scientists observing the stars determined that they were rotating around a supermassive black hole, and it is that black hole the whole world is now getting a glimpse of, in large thanks to Bouman's contributions.

Bouman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told CNN, "No one of us could've done it alone. 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". There are many women, in many places, and in many colors, making a difference today. She quickly embraced the challenge to measure and see the impossible.

Her algorithm was used in the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, a joint worldwide project which combines different telescopes around the globe into an Earth-sized telescope network allowing high-resolution imagery to be taken even in unexplored parts of the universe.

Bouman started developing the algorithm three years ago as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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