Meet the Genius Behind the First Black Hole Image

Users took to Twitter to appreciate and some even had requests as #blackhole becomes a trending topic on Twitter

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.

Bouman's CHIRP system also produced a more reliable image than traditional methods of astrophotography by creating a model that adjusts the information provided by the radio telescopes and using available data to meet expectations about what the black hole should look like.

It's a historic day for female scientists across the globe as the first picture of black hole was generated by a young lady named Katie Bouman.

Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is confirmed.


The image of the black hole was taken in a galaxy known as M87, where, for 16 years, astronomers observed stars rotating in an orbit.

The data from the telescopes around the world was gathered two years ago, but it took years to complete the processing of the data.

Her contributions to the imaging team were significant in the groundbreaking feat, Vincent Fish, a research scientist at the MIT Haystack Observatory, said in an interview with CNN.

"Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed", Dr. Bouman wrote in the caption to her Facebook post. "Of course, this project was too exciting for me to turn down!" he was reported to have said. And how can we come up with unique ways to merge the instrumentation and algorithms to get at measuring things that you can't measure with standard instruments.

Katie started working on the groudbreaking algorithm three years ago when she was still a grad student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US. Light gets bent and twisted around by gravity in a freaky funhouse effect as it gets sucked into the abyss along with superheated gas and dust, the AP reported. The algorithms they developed seamlessly stitched together the data to create the wondrous image we see today.

Bouman helped develop the algorithms for what is formally called the Event Horizon Telescope project, denoting the point at which light, matter, and other energy fall into the incomprehensible density of a black hole, trapped there for eternity. "It has been truly an honor, and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with you all".

"However, you might be surprised to know that that may soon change", Bouman said. And that's what we were testing. "And so, seeing that ring, and seeing a ring that has a size that is consistent with other measurements that have been done completely differently, I think that in itself, just being able to see that that ring exists, is huge". While Bouman's role in the task might be over she is already moving on to new challenges.

Bouman, who has a job lined up as assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at the California Institute of Technology, doesn't see her work as finished.



Other news