Katie Bouman’s Black Hole Image Work: Not The Only Woman In Science

Dr. Katie Bouman, the MIT and Caltech professor and researcher who led the team that created the first black hole image, was plainly just sitting there on Twitter, completely ignored by the mainstream media, but not by this Zennie62Media founding blogger or his Oakland News Now blog.

The moment this blogger saw the tweet crediting her with the work behind the first black hole image, up went the first post on Dr. Bouman at Oakland News Now. Only took a little time – then it went viral. And as well it should; consider the reactions by her colleagues, Worldwide:

And in politics…

What Dr. Katie Bouman did was amazing, but what’s even more interesting is her story: discovering the Event Horizon Telescope project while she was in high school in Indiana, then forming a career around the project: from college in Michigan, then post-doctoral work at MIT, and now as a professor at Caltech, Katie Bouman worked on the EHT for 12 years, leading up to this week, and the amazing release of the first black hole image.

What’s equally notable is that Katie Bouman did this without any evidence of anyone trying to derail her from her desired work objectives. No stories of sexism in the workplace. No awful, sad, tales of woe. We should all take note of that, and applaud that American society has advanced where we can say that. Then, we should look at the other TED Talks that feature women in science who are also doing path-breaking work – and its a diverse group.

Take Dr. Jedidah Isler, who’s a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Astrophysics at Vanderbilt University where she studies hyperactive, supermassive black holes. In 2014, Dr. Isler became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D in Astrophysics from Yale. Right there, just a few inches from Katie Bouman’s talk on black hole imaging on the TED Talks page, was Dr. Isler, talking about “How I fell in love with quazars, blazars, and our incredible universe” – have a look:

On her Twitter page, Dr. Isler shares her thoughts on the EHT image:

And there are other women who’ve added their contributions to the black hole imaging project:

The point is, the media should stop and re-consider its myopic and negative view of American society. There are many women, in many places, and in many colors, making a difference today.

Stay tuned.

P.S.: If you know of a woman who should be recognized for her work in astrophysics, present her in the comments section, below. Thanks.

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