Technology and science made a major leap in history. This week a picture of the first ever black hole was revealed to the human race. This mesmerizing photo which is proof of what mankind is capable of has taken the internet by storm. While there were serious discussions over what this will lead to, at the same time the internet trolls weren’t behind either not missing the chance to make countless memes out of it.
The black hole that was photographed is from the supermassive black hole at the center of a nearby galaxy known as Messier 87 which is about 55 million light years from Earth. To our surprise, the picture was taken two years ago in April 2017 by the Event Horizon Telescope. It comprises of a series of eight linked radio telescopes around the world.
For those of you who don’t know what black holes are; they are formed when certain stars collapse after going supernova. The gravitational forces are so dense that even light cannot escape it hence the name Blackhole.
Keeping the technicalities aside, something else that was revealed after the first photo went public was that the person behind this genius is actually a woman. Yeap, you heard it. A 29-year-old woman made it all possible. Computer scientist Dr. Katie Bouman was credit with leading the creation of an algorithm along with her team that captured the dust and gas situated 500 million trillion kilometers away from Earth.
Bouman started her journey towards this, three years ago when she was a graduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was leading the project along with assistance from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Haystack Observatory.
Many women flocked to congratulate Bouman on her success.
Take your rightful seat in history, Dr. Bouman! 🔭
Congratulations and thank you for your enormous contribution to the advancements of science and mankind.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 10, 2019
Bouman will definitely go down in history!
Left: MIT computer scientist Katie Bouman w/stacks of hard drives of black hole image data.
Right: MIT computer scientist Margaret Hamilton w/the code she wrote that helped put a man on the moon.
— MIT CSAIL (@MIT_CSAIL) April 10, 2019
While some naysayers were quick to point out that it wasn’t Bouman who alone accomplished this, however, she did give credit to her team. She told CNN that:
No one of us could do it alone.
It was a team of 200 individuals spread across the globe who were able to accomplish this goal. Boumans code was a part of the algorithms but her method of processing data was instrumental in getting them where they were.
This is the window to more discoveries. It will pave way for other possibilities and we will get to know more about the laws of physics.
Meanwhile, let’s support our women in STEM!