Was scientist Katie Bouman given credit for work that was primarily done by another scientist, Andrew Chael?
Shortly after the black hole image was published, news spread of some of the people who worked on the project.
One name that quickly rose to the forefront was Dr. Katie Bouman. In fact, some news outlets credited her as “the scientist behind” the breakthrough.
Bouman, though, was quick to push back, stating “no one algorithm or person made this image.”
However, some online users sought to bring another person into the limelight instead. They claimed graduate student Andrew Chael wrote 850,000 of the 900,000 lines of code that Bouman was being credited for.
Chael pushed back on that account. He took to Twitter to defend his colleague and once again reiterated the team effort that went into the project.
Chael said in the thread, “Our papers used three independent imaging software libraries (including one developed by my friend [Kazu Akiyama]). While I wrote much of the code for one of these pipelines, Katie was a huge contributor to the software; it would have never worked without her contributions and the work of many others who wrote code, debugged and figured out how to use the code on challenging EHT data. With a few others, Katie also developed the imaging framework that rigorously tested all three codes and shaped the entire paper.”
At the end of the thread, Chael added that he did not write 850,000 lines of code. He mentioned that the software has 68,000 total lines of code and he doesn’t care how many he personally wrote.
According to Chael, he did not write 850,000 lines of code and did not do the work attributed to Bouman. Chael said Bouman was a major contributor to a team that developed software important for the project.
VERIFY: Is there a zoomed-out image of the black hole showing its true scale?
Another image spreading around Facebook claims to show the entire zoomed-out image of the black hole and the true scale of how far the pull of its gravity reaches.
This image isn’t literally the same picture zoomed-out, but it is a photo of the same black hole taken from a different telescope at a different scale.
It was taken by NASA space telescope Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which was not part of the Event Horizon Telescope that has been making headlines.
The Chandra observatory cannot actually see the black hole itself, according to a news release. However, since Chandra has a much larger field of view than the Event Horizon Telescope, it has an awesome view of the full length of particles launched by the black hole’s gravitational and magnetic fields, which is depicted in the Facebook post.
That jet of particles extends more than 1,000 light years from its center point.
As for the black hole itself, it is at the center of the massive Messier 87 galaxy. The Event Horizon Telescope’s press release says the black hole is 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun.
So don’t try to look for it with the naked eye. It’s too far away for that.