Although computer scientist Katie Bouman’s was the face that most appeared on the internet because she designed an algorithm that produced the image, the extraordinary team that produced the first picture of a black hole was one of three working closely together on one particular aspect of this project.
As a whole, the project involved approximately 200 people from 60 research institutions in more than 15 countries. (Cas Feder on Monday blog).
It has been announced now that “Hundreds of researchers on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team will share the $3m Breakthrough prize in fundamental physics for their image of the monster black hole at the heart of Messier 87, a galaxy 55m light years from Earth. The remarkable shot of one of the most mysterious types of object in the universe required astronomers to coordinate observations from eight telescopes on four continents from Antarctica to Arizona to create an Earth-sized instrument sensitive enough to spot a bagel on the moon.” The Guardian
We are so used to awards given to scientists working as individuals, often competing with one another in Academia, that this remarkable discovery has been made even more remarkable by the manner in which it was carried out, a real breath of fresh air and model of scientific collaboration for the future of science.