Technology: Meet Katie Bouman, the MIT grad who helped capture the black-hole image - It is celebrated for the photo of the black hole - PressFrom - US
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TechnologyMeet Katie Bouman, the MIT grad who helped capture the black-hole image

04:16  11 april  2019
04:16  11 april  2019 Source:   bostonglobe.com

Astronomers set to make 'groundbreaking' black hole announcement

Astronomers set to make 'groundbreaking' black hole announcement We may be about to see the first ever photo of a black hole.

Katherine Bouman had devoted years to the astonishing quest — to help capture the first image of a massive black hole in a distant galaxy, a void so dense On Wednesday, nearly a year after scientists at the Black Hole Initiative in Cambridge applauded their discovery in private, Bouman and 200 other

Three years ago, Katie Bouman led the creation of an algorithm that eventually helped capture the first black hole image .

Meet Katie Bouman, the MIT grad who helped capture the black-hole image© handout Katherine Bouman and her astrophysicist colleagues kept the black hole picture secret for a year for study.

Katherine Bouman had devoted years to the astonishing quest — to help capture the first image of a massive black hole in a distant galaxy, a void so dense no light can escape.

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

So, after the stunning image was revealed to the world Wednesday, Bouman’s excitement spilled out at what seemed the speed of light.

Astronomers set to make 'groundbreaking' black hole announcement

Astronomers set to make 'groundbreaking' black hole announcement We may be about to see the first ever photo of a black hole.

© handout Katherine Bouman and her astrophysicist colleagues kept the black hole picture secret for a year for study. Katherine Bouman had devoted years to the astonishing quest — to help capture the first image of a massive black hole in a distant galaxy, a void so dense no light can escape.

Katie Bouman , 29, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who has [Taking a picture of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy is] equivalent to taking an 3 years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the

“We’ve been busting at the seams about what we’ve seen, but we had to keep our mouths shut,” said Bouman, 29, a doctoral graduate of MIT who continued her studies at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

What she and a large team of scientists from MIT, Harvard, and other universities had seen was the first-ever image of a cosmic black hole 53 million light-years away, a time-warping and light-twisting mystery of the universe whose existence Albert Einstein had hinted at a century ago.

The project was directed by Sheperd Doeleman, a senior research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

“We have taken the first picture of a black hole — a one-way door out of our universe,” Doeleman said.

On Wednesday, nearly a year after scientists at the Black Hole Initiative in Cambridge applauded their discovery in private, Bouman and 200 other scientists — many of them from the Boston area — finally could speak about what many astronomers and others had thought impossible.

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Katie Bouman , 29, has earned plaudits for helping develop the algorithm that made the photo The black hole image , captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) "3 years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole

About Katie Bouman . Bouman , who earned masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2013, stayed with the university for her Bouman will not be dubbed as the star of the show. While she currently shares the spotlight with the black hole image itself, she credits the

The image was the real thing, confirmed by test after test on data collected from eight radio telescopes around the globe. Finally, even after exhaustive efforts to prove themselves wrong, the discovery stood.

“It’s incredibly exciting. The goal was to see this thing that was essentially impossible to see, about the size of an orange on the moon,” Bouman said.

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

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.

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

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Meet Katie Bouman , One Woman Who Helped Make the World's First Image of a Black Hole . On that day in June, the data had finally arrived and Bouman ’s team pressed “go,” waiting to see whether the code they had written could actually capture the invisible.

Meet Katie Bouman , the 29-year-old scientist who helped make the world's first black hole image . Once considered impossible, the image captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) shows a black central core — the event horizon — surrounded by a lopsided ring of light emitted by particles

The black hole in the constellation Virgo is seen as a dark shadow inside that circle, an enormous opening that is the size of our solar system and about 6 billion times the mass of the sun.

The existence of black holes, caused by the collapse of stars, has been known for decades. But Wednesday’s announcement in Washington, D.C., and five other locations around the globe is the first to display an image of a massive black hole.

The positioning of the eight observatories essentially allowed the researchers to turn the rotating Earth into one enormous telescope with extraordinary resolution — about 3 million times sharper than 20/20 vision.

Four teams of scientists worked independently to analyze their data, retrieved over 10 days in April 2017 by telescopes from Mexico to Antarctica to Hawaii.

The scientists didn’t talk to other teams about the details of their work as they analyzed their data. They didn’t even tell their families about the results, Bouman said.

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.

Internet trolls tried to credit a white man for the black hole image

Internet trolls tried to credit a white man for the black hole image When internet trolls tried to detract from Katherine Bouman's rise to stardom for her role in creating the first image of a black hole, her colleague quickly shut them down. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Bouman, 29, created one of the algorithms that led to the groundbreaking black hole image. She also helped develop the imaging and verification process.

The MIT graduate , who led the development of the algorithm which made it possible to capture the image of a black hole , is gaining recognition for her contribution to 3 years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole .

The MIT graduate , who led the development of the algorithm which made it possible to capture the image of a black hole , is gaining recognition for her contribution to 3 years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole .

“It was amazing to see that first ring, but it was even more unbelievable that we all produced the ring,” said Bouman, who is joining the faculty at the California Institute of Technology this year.

To verify what they had produced, the teams “tried to excise humans from the equation altogether,” Bouman said.

“We didn’t want to accidentally see a ring just because we wanted to see a ring,” she said. “But we kept getting the ring.”

The finding confirmed the existence of massive black holes that some skeptics had continued to doubt, even as science fiction and the entertainment industry have used them to captivate and terrify the earthbound.

Alan Marscher, a Boston University astronomer who led one of the teams, joined Bouman and others at a celebration in Washington on Wednesday.

“It’s not that common in science that you can get such a clean confirmation of such a theoretical explanation,” Marscher said. “It’s very satisfying that the basic theory we’ve been working with for decades now is, in fact, confirmed.”

MIT’s Haystack Observatory, located off Route 40 in Westford, helped with the project’s hardware and software.

Vincent Fish, a research scientist at the observatory, said Haystack served as an equipment clearinghouse, sending special components and systems for recording data from the black hole project to observatories worldwide.

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Dr. Katie Bouman and her team created an algorithm that sifted through data collected from 8 radio telescopes to help construct the first-ever image She began working on the algorithm that produced the black hole image when she was an MIT grad student 3 years ago, according to MIT Computer

Bouman , a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, created an algorithm that First came the breathtaking image , the first one to ever show a black hole , in a galaxy about 55 million Congratulations Dr. Bouman !" the Royal Historical Society wrote on social media.

Haystack also received disks with recorded data from those observatories and processed them in a supercomputer. The Westford site was one of two where the data were assembled. The other was in Bonn.

Fish said it was a major computational task: taking petabytes — equivalent to a million gigabytes — and compressing them to terabytes or less.

“At Haystack, we deal with the early part of the data,” he said. “I’m very proud. I’ve been working on this project since 2007. I’ve spent most of my professional life on this, and I’m just really glad we got such great results out of this,” Fish said.

The discovery is only a starting point, Bouman and Marscher said. Research techniques and algorithms will continue to be improved until, for example, the matter spinning around the edges of the black hole can be studied further.

In the meantime, there are congratulations to be accepted, colleagues to thank, and years of reminiscences to share. The outline of one of the universe’s most compelling mysteries — a vestige, perhaps, of the big bang itself — has been revealed.

There is an extraordinary amount of work to be done. But on Wednesday night, at least, there was time for hours of celebration in Washington at the National Air and Space Museum.

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