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Algorithms gave us the black hole picture. She's the 29-year-old scientist who helped create them.
by Ben Guarino
The Washington Post Translate This Article
10 April 2019
On 10 April 2019 The Washington Post reported:
Katherine Bouman had a secret: An algorithm she'd developed had stitched together a picture of a black hole. She told nobody except her colleagues. Until today. That's when Event Horizon Telescope team, of which Bouman is a member, unveiled the first image of a black hole. Bouman, 29, a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, had been working on such an algorithm for almost six years, since she was a graduate student at MIT.
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She was one of about three dozen computer scientists who used algorithms to process data gathered by the Event Horizon Telescope project, a worldwide collaboration of astronomers, engineers, and mathematicians.
Telescopes around the world collected high-frequency radio waves from the vicinity of Messier 87, a supermassive black hole 54 million light-years away. But atmospheric disturbance and the spareness of the measurements meant 'an infinite number of possible images' could explain the data, Bouman said. Well-designed algorithms had to crunch through the chaos.
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