Meet Katie Bouman, A 29-Year-Old Who Helped Mankind Capture Black Hole Image First-time Ever


A 29-year-old graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Katie Bouman’s algorithm has helped humankind and science to capture the image of a massive black hole for the first time ever.

The historic feat achieved on 10th April 2019 would not have been possible without the help of the crucial algorithm developed by Bouman for the imaging methods.

The scientists captured the black hole image by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). It is a network linked with eight telescopes. Hours after the image was captured using Dr. Bouman’s algorithm, she became an international sensation after her name started trending on Twitter.

Katie Bouman Algorithm Helped Researchers Create Final Image

As a student of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, MIIT, three years ago, Bouman created an algorithm that has now helped the researchers create the final image of a massive black hole. Telescopes collected millions of gigabytes of data. Even then there were huge gaps due to which it was not possible to create a black hole image.  

Bouman kept the nature of her research work a secret for a long time. She said, “It’s been really hard to keep our lips sealed. I hadn’t even told my family about the picture.” The name of Katie Bouman came up when her two pictures from the past started doing rounds on social media.

According to the ex-MIT student, “No one of us could’ve done it alone. It came together because of lots of different people from many backgrounds.”

The contribution of Bowman to science and research is an indication that more women are venturing in this field making a difference to the way science is taking humankind forward.

Katie Bouman
Google/Black Hole

Realization Of Endeavor Previously Though Impossible

The image of a massive black hole shows a halo of dust and gas located 500 million trillion km from Earth. For Katie Bouman, it was the realization of an effort that she previously thought impossible.

While bracing up for the groundbreaking moment she excitedly wrote on her Facebook post, “Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed.”  During her work on the algorithm, she was assisted by the MIT Haystack Observatory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT.

catie bouman

Now working as an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at the California Institute of Technology, Dr. Katie Bouman said that her team deserves equal credit for this success.

More than a team of 200 scientists used telescopes ranging from Antarctica to Chile locations to capture the image. That is why, she said, “No one of us could’ve done it alone. It came together because of lots of different people from many different backgrounds.”

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