Trolls harass a scientist who helped to photograph a black hole


It's so easy to be keen on Katie Bouman. She is a 29-year-old computer scientist whose full joy, when she first saw the black hole, was captured in a picture that warmed the hearts of the world.

Bouman, soon an associate professor at Caltech led one of the four teams who had the task of modifying data on a half-ton of hard drives in a picture that was repudiated on Wednesday around the world.

Also with the picture Right there on our screens is actually an understanding of something bigger than our solar system and 6.5 billion more massive than our Sun is still almost impossible. But a man can gladly understand the joy – and so he has drawn us a perfect time painting with his hands above his mouth.

A twitter account linked to her alma mater, MIT, was one of the first to congratulate her on the work, speak: "Three years ago, MIT student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm for producing the first image of a black hole. Today this photo was released. ¬ęThe account associated with the 2016 story of Bouman, who developed the algorithm for the project. But if you read Twitter fast, basking in the glow of Sauron's thousand eyes, you may have reasoned – as many are – that MIT said its algorithm itself led to the creation of this image. (Since then, they have been published more tweets points out that Bouman and her work were part of the cooperation.)

People have noticed. Journalist Flora Graham comparing Bouman's picture some of the hard drives used on the project are the image of Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist whose code was crucial to the Apollo missions. The congratulations came in and Bouman's popularity accelerated. For some people it was easier to connect with one enthusiastic human face less than two hundred smiling faces and names.

In a matter of hours, the topic, which was the Internet, started to gravitate on it. Her phone began to receive so many messages that she had to extinguish it New York Times. Someone has set it up several times Initiate your accounts on Twitter by its name. The next day Times published an article entitled "How Katie Bouman Becomes a Chance of Black Hole Project". The Verge he spoke to Bouman, but the representative of the MIT said The Verge that Bouman did not speak to the media right now.

It's wonderful to be recognized for your work. However, it also has to be uncomfortable if you stand in the center of attention and ask you to decide for your lead role when you were part of the ensemble.

In response to his attention, Bouman wrote on Facebook: "No algorithm or person created this image, demanded the extraordinary talent of a group of scientists from all over the world and a long-standing hard work for instrument development, data processing, imaging and analytical techniques that were needed to eliminate this seemingly impossible venture. It was a real honor, and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to work with you all. "

It's the Internet; Things got worse. In what can only be described as a sexist hunting ground, people began to look at her work in order to see how much real contributed to the project that impressed him with the unknown fame. The trolls focused on one of their colleagues, Andrew Chael, who was ranked on GitHub as the primary developer of one of the algorithms that uncovered the black hole, and began to circulate his image. Chael did not have this.

"People who were upset began to be clear, because the woman became the face of this story and decided" to find someone who instead reflects my story, "Chael said. Washington Post.

In addition to Twitter, YouTube also featured videos and spread rumors about her work, and created fake Instagram accounts directed at Bouman and Chael. As Ben Collins pointed out to NBC, "the situation has highlighted the vitriol that women still face on the Internet, and the continued vulnerability of the major Internet platforms for campaigns that have flourished."

This is not just an online trend. Women in science are listed less than their male counterparts. They have a harder time to get the job published in important magazines, including leading ones Science in Nature. They are probably paid less than their peers (a 2013 study showed that women working in physics and astronomy paid 40 percent less than men). They are more likely to face harassment in the workplace.

The Internet does not exist in a vacuum; part of the reason that some posters that showed that Bouman was immediately suspicious had had to do with her gender. Many eminent men, such as the disgraced former CERN physicist Alessandro Strumia, argued that women in science are not discriminated against – they simply do not like them, or they do not have the ability to do so. This argument reinforces the idea that women do not belong to science or can not do their job. So women, like Bouman, must be fake, this distorted mentality.

This particular problem will not disappear after this cycle of news has passed, even though there are some positive changes in the scientific community. Researchers are protesting because of supportive processes that mostly fund male-led projects, and scientific societies transform their policies of sexual harassment.

But part of the problem is how Bouman became a sinexdog for the work of a big team. Science is now being performed on larger scales, which allows us to start answering questions that our ancestors would never have dreamed of. These answers are thanks to the collective efforts of inspiring people such as Katie Bouman, Andrew Chael, Shep Doeleman, Kazu Akiyama and 200 other colleagues. In your head it's hard to have 215 personal names and faces. In a photo, we can easily remember one cheerful face.

It's wonderful that we heard Bouman's story. It's horrible that people are attacking Bouman's credibility because her story was told. And that is also really that she does not bear the full weight of this incredible scientific work on her shoulders.

Saying that she was part of a larger group does not reduce her work or reduce her involvement in a project that already creates history. Emphasizing the achievements of a brilliant, enthusiastic scientist does not reduce the contributions of the other 214 people who worked on the project. But what? It is To work, he showed a different model for a scientist than the one we were growing up with. To some children, perhaps to children who look like her, this could mean that they are enthusiastic about studying the wonders of the universe.

The Internet can be dark; it can be heavy; maybe it's full of rubbish. But only black holes can illuminate the light. Bouman has a strong start in his career – we will be happy to see what she will do.


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