Research

Why the world is talking about Katie Bouman

Why the world is talking about Katie Bouman

But when the mind-bending breakthrough finally came nearly a year ago, the discovery had to stay a secret.

The image shared Wednesday, which has been likened to a molten doughnut or the Eye of Sauron or even a Rembrandt, is a composite of several such reconstructions.

The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.

Bouman was a graduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when she first led an global team of astronomers creating the world's largest telescope to take the first image of a blackhole.

The project was directed by Sheperd Doeleman, a senior research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "The imaging algorithms we develop fill in the gaps of data we are missing in order to reconstruct a picture of the black hole". This is known as the black hole's shadow or silhouette.

Scientists on Wednesday revealed the first-ever photo taken of a black hole - but one woman played an essential role in capturing the image. The project combined experts from all sorts of scientific backgrounds, ranging from physicists to mathematicians, and she saw the work through the lens of computer science, stressing the importance of running tests on synthetic data and making sure that the methods they used to make the image kept human bias out of the equation. Finally, even after exhaustive efforts to prove themselves wrong, the discovery stood.

Dr Bouman's method of processing this raw data was said to be instrumental in the creation of the striking image.

The project also plumbed the expertise of scientists at MIT's Haystack Observatory in Westford, Boston University, Brandeis University, and the University of MA, among others.

More news: Uber reveals finances as it gears up for IPO

Katie Bouman, a computer scientist, took the lead on creating the algorithm that made it possible to take the photo 55 million light-years away from Earth.

While much of the matter around a black hole drops into its vortex, the new image captures the vast, circular shape of gas and dust whirling at the speed of light outside the point of no return.

From Antartica to Hawaii, telescopes positioned throughout the world collected light emitted from the black hole which is 6.5 billion times more massive than the sun. And I heard about this project, this idea of imaging black holes.

The scientists didn't talk to other teams about the details of their work as they analyzed their data.

"No one of us could've done it alone", she told CNN.

But last summer, when the teams gathered at the Black Hole Initiative to share their findings, the startling similarities prompted an outpouring of celebration and awe. She starts this fall as an assistant professor at California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

But Bouman acknowledged she'd be nowhere without her team. We didn't know.we were going to get that ring of light.