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News > U.S.

Katie Bouman: The Woman Who Made Black Hole Image Possible

  • Katie Bouman is the woman who made capturing the first image of black hole possible.

    Katie Bouman is the woman who made capturing the first image of black hole possible. | Photo: Facebook / Katie Bouman

Published 11 April 2019

Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate led a computer program that made the first photo of black hole possible. 

On Wednesday the first-ever photo of a black hole was released. A 29-year-old Katie Bouman is the reason behind this breakthrough.


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Bouman, a graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), lead development of a computer program which made the feat possible. "Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed," she wrote on Facebook.

She started working on the algorithm three years ago while still a graduate student at MIT.

Bouman was assisted by a team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the MIT Haystack Observatory.

"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," MIT's Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab wrote. "Today, that image was released."

"When we saw it for the first time, we were all in disbelief. It was quite spectacular," she told BBC adding, "We got really lucky with the weather... We got lucky in so many ways."

Bouman is an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at California Institute of Technology.

"No one of us could've done it alone," she told CNN. "It came together because of lots of different people from many different backgrounds."

The effort to take the photo involved more than 200 scientists and the used telescopes ranged from Antarctica to Chile.

"We're a melting pot of astronomers, physicists, mathematicians and engineers, and that's what it took to achieve something once thought impossible," Bouman said.

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