Internet Trolls Try To Discredit Katie Bouman’s Contribution To First Black Hole Photo And Gets Shut Down By Her Colleague

It was the smile that was seen all around the world – a look of pure giddiness over a monumental discovery – of something bigger than our solar system or our sun. Twenty-nine-year-old computer scientist Katie Bouman and along with four other teams had captured the first photo of a black hole and her joyful expression said it all. Bauman soon to be an assistant professor at Caltech, first posted the photo on her Facebook, which was screenshotted and sent a massive ripple across the internet. Soon she unwittingly became “face” of the discovery, with outlets even writing pieces on her – but some people were not happy.

In a reverse ‘Hidden Figures’ these trolls began digging around the internet to find the real (man) person responsible for this scientific feat. They landed on Andrew Chael, listed on GitHub as the primary developer for one of the algorithms of the monumental discovery – but he was quick to shut them down.

Computer scientist Katie Bouman has become the face of the first black hole photo in history – and internet trolls are not pleased

Image credits: Katie Bouman

The MIT graduate posted the photo of her delighted face on her Facebook with the caption: “Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed.” Which was screengrabbed by fellow Indiana native David Barajas and posted to Twitter. The tweet went viral after it was retweeted by MIT CSAIL and while many congratulated her efforts others sought to bring her down.

Image credits: minimaxir

Trolls disputed that Bouman should be receiving the level of acclaim she was and said that the real credit should go to Andrew Chael, who was listed as a primary developer. Chael quickly came to the defense of his colleague with a series of tweets.

Another developer on the project, Andrew Chael, stood up for his colleague in a Twitter thread

Image credits: Andrew Chael

And told The Washington Post. he believed the trolling came from a place of pure misogyny, “It was clearly started by people who were upset that a woman had become the face of this story and decided, ‘I’m going to find someone who reflects my narrative instead.’”

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

Image credits: thisgreyspirit

While Bouman deserves credit for her role she wrote on her Facebook that this history-making feat was indisputably a team accomplishment: “No one algorithm or person made this image, it required the amazing talent of a team of scientists from around the globe and years of hard work to develop the instrument, data processing, imaging methods, and analysis techniques that were necessary to pull off this seemingly impossible feat. It has been truly an honor, and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with you all.”

Image credits: Katie Bouman

The misogyny of this controversy was not lost on most people in the comments

Image credits: Triston_Bowman

Image credits: Mehdimoitou

Image credits: johndee15270713

Image credits: Lilpandapaw

Image credits: Lilpandapaw

Recognition for contributions in science is a historic problem that women have had to deal with that is still present to this day. After the blockbuster film Hidden Figures the US State Department was inspired to launch the Hidden No More, a program to increase awareness of the crucial role women play in STEM fields, but there is still so much more that needs to be done. Women in science are cited less in their research, have a more difficult time getting published and are paid 40 percent less in fields like physics and astronomy.

Source: boredpanda.com

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