It's an exciting week for science, is not it? The second Falcon Heavy launch went off without a hitch and Israel is about to land a probe on the moon. The icing on the cake could have been the publication of the first photograph of a black hole. But for one person involved in this picture, the week that should have been a celebration of a remarkable achievement has deteriorated rapidly. It would be Katherine "Katie" Bouman, one of the imaging scientists involved in processing the huge amounts of data needed to create the image.
As soon as the photo was published, a photo of Dr. Bouman who clasped hands on his face with rapture became viral. Although she did not claim all the merit (she was actually quite modest about it), the media, the government and Facebook and Twitter quickly began treating her as if she had flown over the universe to take herself even the photo. And then came the trolls. (NBC News)
Researcher Katie Bouman, 24, quickly gained fame on the Internet after contributing to the publication of the image of the black hole that became viral. But trolls on the Internet quickly followed, questioning Bouman's work and suggesting false statements that she had not been involved in the project. "A woman performs 6% of the work but gets 100% credit: Black Hole Photo" was the best video result when looking for her name on YouTube.
His colleagues rallied behind his defense, but the situation highlighted the fact that women in the vitriolic age continue to face the Internet and the persistent vulnerability of major Internet platforms to trolling campaigns.
One of the worst examples of this backlash came in the form of a YouTube video entitled "A woman performs 6% of the work but gets 100% credit: Black Hole Photo". The video itself is based on inaccurate information and seeks to transfer project credit to a "heterosexual white man". and oh, by the way … he's gay.) The video quickly garnered more than 50,000 views.
It would be easy to blame this misconception about the role that Bouman played in creating the photo on the Internet troll that created this video, but that's just not the case. Katie Bouman also did not claim to have been the driving force behind the project. The photo she posted does not even insinuate as much. As Bouman herself said, she was one of the many people who contributed. And it turns out that the algorithm she developed was not used in this project, although she was still very involved in the process.
But that's not what we see online or in the media. The Washington Post quickly posted a video titled "Meet the woman behind the first picture of a black hole". The New York Times has published a similar theme, but this has been somewhat mitigated afterwards.
Perhaps one of the biggest cheerleaders was the MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. To say that AOC was a little "exaggerated" is a euphemism.
Take your rightful place in history, Dr. Bouman! ?
Congratulations and thank you for your enormous contribution to the progress of science and humanity.
Here is for #WomenInSTEM!
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 10, 2019
And AOC reacted to this tweet who was likewise launching Bouman as if she had taken care of the whole project by herself.
In the end, Dr. Katie Bouman was a valued member of a team of 200 people who developed the picture of the black hole. And having released an innocent photo of herself, enjoying the team's sunny moment, she was turned into a feminist heroine, then into a startling monster of fame, all at the same time. space of a few hours. Is someone really surprised? It's life on social media in 2019.