What to Know About Kate Bouman, the 29-Year-Old Behind the Black Hole Image

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The young female scientist behind the first-ever image of a black hole is being hailed as an American hero

At just 29, Dr. Kate Bouman has done something few others have: made history. 

"This is just the beginning of having another window into what black holes can tell us about our laws and physics," Bouman said after the image released. "Already, we've learned so much."

Bouman created the algorithm that allowed the picture — which showed a fiery ring surrounding a black center — to be assembled. 

"What an inspiration!" one person wrote on Twitter.

"A true American hero!" chimed in another.

So what should you know about this young scientist?

Science runs in Bouman's family. Her father was an engineering professor at Purdue. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her master's and doctorate. There, she developed the algorithm that managed to crunch down a galaxy's worth of data into a single image. 

She spent more than three years working with over 200 scientists to verify the data and create the image. 

But Bouman acknowledged she'd be nowhere without her team.

"No one algorithm or person made this image," she said. "It required the amazing talent of a team of scientists from around the globe and years of hard work ... to pull off this seemingly impossible feat."

She added: "It has been truly an honor, and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with you all."


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