Skip To Content

    This Is Katie Bouman, The 29-Year-Old Scientist Who Helped Capture The Black Hole

    Shoot for the stars.

    By now you’ve probably seen this amazing photo of a black hole in space.

    National Science Foundation / Via National Science Foundation

    An international team of more than 200 researchers released this never-before-seen image.

    You’ve probably also seen this picture making the rounds. This is Katie Bouman. She's a 29-year-old post-doctoral fellow at MIT, and she’s getting credit for making that black hole image possible.

    Facebook: Katie Bouman / Via facebook.com

    Bouman is making headlines because she developed a crucial algorithm that helped scientists capture that photo of a black hole in space, which was virtually impossible.

    Google

    Three years ago, when she was a computer science and artificial intelligence graduate student at MIT, she was part of a team of 200 researchers that worked on the creation of an algorithm that provided the imaging code to capture the black hole.

    National Science Foundation

    Katie’s algorithm helped fill in gaps that needed to be filled after a global network of telescopes collected tons of data. Her algorithm helped “piece together the picture.”

    Needless to say, she was a crucial part of the imaging team and posted an update on her Facebook profile highlighting the accomplishment.

    Facebook: katie.bouman.3

    Katie told CNN, "We didn't want to just develop one algorithm. We wanted to develop many different algorithms that all have different assumptions built into them. If all of them recover the same general structure, then that builds your confidence."

    Vincent Fish, a research scientist at MIT's Haystack Observatory, said senior scientists worked on the project, but the imaging portion was mostly led by junior researchers, like Katie. Here she is with stacks of hard drives containing the imaging data.

    Katie Bouman

    While she's already accomplished so much, she's nowhere near done. She starts teaching as an assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology in the fall.

    Katie Bouman led the creation of an algorithm that helped capture the first ever image of a black hole. We asked her what this breakthrough means for science. For more reaction from other scientists, visit our YouTube channel: https://t.co/H1UfPI6Y8V

    Go on with your bad self!

    Bravo Katie, bravo.

    1969: Margaret Hamilton alongside the code that got us to the moon 2019: Katie Bouman alongside the data that got us to the black hole

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form