On April 10th, Katie Bouman got the first ever picture of a supermassive black hole in galaxy M87. Ms. Bouman had figured out the calculations on figuring out how to take the picture. With it, she had created a milestone in spatial science. Even though some people appreciate her work, social media users do not as much and has created the slightly blurry picture into a “meme,” which is essentially a joke. Also, no major new channels have interviewed her yet, and so here’s a question: would this have been any different is she was a man?
The definition of a black hole is a “region of spacetime with such strong gravitational effects that nothing—not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole.” According to Google. This is a huge advancement in science and was taken by a woman. She did not do all the work by herself, but she was one of the leading figures on the project. Katie Bouman did all this work and now it has become a circulating meme.
The black hole image has been ridiculed and is being used as jokes since it is so blurry. The good thing about making the image a joke is how more people are learning about the black hole and that it got some such attention the day the picture was released. The cons about this becoming a meme is that her work is being ridiculed and used as a joke.
“By turning this discovery into a meme is stripping away the importance it, and first of of they aren't even funny and second of all it is undermining Katie Boumans’ and all the other scientist work. I also think all the other members of the math team were not given as much credit as they deserved.” said Lilly Meyer, XIIIs.
Lilly brought up the point that Katie was not given much recognition, let alone the rest of the team. Katie Bouman noticed that and did give them credit on twitter, but there is still very little recognition for them.
Let us say, hypothetically, that the person who got the image of the black hole was a man, would the publicity rate have gone up? Would there have been these jokes about it? Would major news stations have interviewed this man sooner? Based off of other discoveries made by men, these questions would most likely become true. She has reached new milestones with science and gender equality, yet she has not been interviewed yet.
Recently among the Upper School students, there have been many conversations sparked about the gender disparity. They find it disrespectful that Katie Bouman was not given the respect that she deserves. Specifically among the XIs, they think that she should have gotten more publicity.
“When was looking on Instagram, I saw a couple memes of Katie looking surprised I just thought that it was a stupid meme, but then my brother told me that the lady was one of the head scientist getting the picture.” said Odessa Kanarick, XIsD.
Katie Bouman and her team have figured out a way to get a picture of a black hole, eventually getting a picture, that is slightly blurry. With the slight blurriness, social media has turned the unprecedented photograph into a meme and Katie and her team have not been interviewed yet. Putting that aside, they still have made a huge milestone in today's scientific research.