Online trolls are harassing a scientist who helped take the first picture of a black hole


It’s so easy to be excited about Katie Bouman. She’s the 29-year-old computer scientist whose utter glee at seeing a black hole for the first time was captured in a picture that warmed hearts around the world.

Bouman, soon to be an Associate Professor at Caltech, led one of the four teams tasked with turning data on half a ton of hard drives into the picture that ricocheted around the world on Wednesday.

Even with a picture right there on our screens, actually understanding something larger than our solar system and 6.5 billion times more massive than our Sun was still nearly impossible. But joy is easy for humans to understand — and so that perfectly timed picture of her with her hands over her mouth drew us in.

A Twitter account associated with her alma mater, MIT, was one of the first to congratulate her for the work, saying: “3 years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole. Today, that image was released.” The account linked to a 2016 story about Bouman developing an algorithm for the project. But if you were