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Black Hole Researcher Defends Colleague Against Attacks

April 15, 2019

Andrew Chael, a Ph.D. candidate in physics at Harvard University working on the Black Hole Initiative, defended his colleague Katherine Bouman against internet trolls who sought to minimize her role in the project -- specifically the photo of a black hole revealed last week. Reacting to comments and memes saying that Chael -- not Bouman -- did most of the work but got the least credit, Chael said on Twitter that “if you are congratulating me because you have a sexist vendetta against Katie, please go away and reconsider your priorities in life.”

A photo of Bouman with the black hole image was widely circulated last week. But Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow with the Event Horizon Telescope, has stressed the importance of teamwork in the discovery. “The image shown today is the combination of images produced by multiple methods,” she wrote on Facebook. “No one algorithm or person made this image. It required the amazing talent of a team of scientists from around the globe and years of hard work to develop the instruments, data processing, imaging methods and analysis techniques that were necessary to pull off this seemingly impossible feat.”

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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