The release of the first photo of a black hole may be a big leap for science but it’s also a giant step for women.
KOLR10 spoke to a local MSU student who says she’s been inspired by this space breakthrough.
“It’s definitely a big female empowerment idea to girls majoring in STEM fields, like me,” said MSU Computer Science and Astronomy student Alyssa Slayton.
MSU Astronomy Professor Michael Reed says the photo of the black hole was made possible by today’s technology.
“We’re living in very interesting times and technology is allowing us to put these things together,” Reed said. In order to give actual visible examples of what a black hole is, is stupendous…that they can actually see something that is heretofore only been theoretical.”
Reed says while technology helped the breakthrough, so did students like Katie Bouman. She was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student when she created the algorithm.
“Students do a large part of our work and we have student interns here, that are also doing research and they end up on publications just like Ms. Bouman is,” said Reed. “It’s excellent that they see the rewards of their work.”
Slayton, a computer science and astronomy student of Reed’s, says this is inspiring for women studying in STEM fields.
“Margaret Hamilton…has always been a huge inspiration to me,” Slayton said. “She’s the one that wrote the programs that sent us to the moon and Katie Bouman is kind of a similar sort of idea where, she has all of this work that she did herself. This is the application of both using computers and programming skills and also using a deep knowledge of astronomy and physics and how they work to create something that is revolutionary.”
Professor Reed says this photo of the black hole is even more interesting, because its event horizon is visible. The event horizon is the boundary around a black hole, which beyond it, nothing can escape.