Yesterday, April 10th, scientists released the first-ever image of a black hole. The image marks a major scientific breakthrough, and it happened thanks to a 29-year-old female computer scientist named Katie Bouman. According to BBC News, Bouman led the development of the algorithm that helped render the final image.
Even more badass is the fact that she began working on the project as a 26-year-old graduate student at MIT. CNN notes that, since black holes aren’t visible to the naked eye, the team used a network of telescopes to collect data about the way the mass interacted with the space around it. Bouman’s algorithm helped piece together the data to create the historic picture. Of course, a project this massive required many hands on deck. CNN reports that the team included more than 200 researchers across the globe.
Bouman posted on Facebook about the moment she waited to see the final image, and her post quickly spread across social media. In the picture, her hands are pressed over her mouth in anticipation.
Back in 2016, Bouman discussed her algorithm with MIT News, explaining that because the black hole is so far away, capturing it would be incredibly difficult.
We’re in awe of this discovery and all of the hard work that Bouman and the rest of the team put in to get here. And it’s a firm reminder that women in STEM are capable of amazing things.