Black hole photographed; What did you do today?

You and I are probably never going to have the good luck of answering the usual, “How was your day?” with, “Great! I made it possible for our species to see a black hole for the first time.”

She will.

Katie Bouman

Katie Bouman was in high school in Indiana when she first learned about the Event Horizon Telescope. As a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she helped create an algorithm that helped devise imaging methods to piece together data from the system.

“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,” she told CNN.

“No one of us could’ve done it alone,” Bouman said. “It came together because of lots of different people from many backgrounds.”

The image of the black hole is impressive, but not as impressive as Bouman’s reaction to seeing her work create it.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory