But Chael, the "primary author of one piece of software that worked on imaging the black hole", was having none of it and denied writing that many lines of code, according to The Washington Post. Despite the tall order, an global team of more than 200 researchers unveiled the first-ever image of a black hole on Wednesday.
'So apparently some (I hope very few) people online are using the fact that I am the primary developer of the eht-imaging software library to launch bad and sexist attacks on my colleague and friend Katie Bouman.
Katie Bouman is a 29-year old assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at Caltech, and she developed an algorithm at MIT which enabled the first photo of a black hole to be taken. She developed the algorithm with the help of researchers from MIT CSAIL, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the MIT Haystack Observatory.
"No one algorithm or person made this image", Bouman wrote on Facebook, "it required the unbelievable 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".
One especially popular Twitter post showed a side-by-side picture of Bouman with hard drives of black hole image data next to another woman scientist: Margaret Hamilton. In addition, black holes by definition are supposed to be invisible - although they can give off a shadow whenthey interact with the material around them. However, there were still large gaps in the data that needed to be filled in.
His tweets came in response to a Reddit thread that attacked Bouman. Bouman's specialty is using "emerging computational methods to push the boundaries of interdisciplinary imaging", according to the bio on her website.
They took the "sparse and noisy data" that the telescopes spit out and tried to make an image. For the past few years, Bouman directed the verification of images and selection of imaging parameters.
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For instance, an individual posting to Reddit argued that Andrew Chael, a doctoral candidate in physics at Harvard who also worked on the Event Horizon Telescope team, deserved the credit because he had contributed more lines of code to the GitHub repository for ethim, a Python application used to process the black hole image.
'Can we just be amazed at this awesome scientific development and not turn it into some bullshit political battle?' one user said. "If all of them recover the same general structure, then that builds your confidence". In fact, the researchers had generated several photos and they all looked the same.
"No matter what we did, you would have to bend over backwards insane to get something that wasn't this ring", Bouman said. "However, you might be surprised to know that that may soon change". Astronomical images share these properties, and you can mathematically encode these properties, Fish said. And while that doesn't make her any more deserving of applause - Bouman emphasizes that the project was "a team effort" - it does make her a potential role model for young girls who lack examples compared to their male peers.
"We didn't want to just develop one algorithm", she said.
"Radio wavelengths come with a lot of advantages", Bouman said in the press release.
Earlier this week, Bouman has also stated that it was not just one person who was responsible for the image, but a whole team of talented people who have been working hard for years.