Katherine Bouman, a 29-year-old researcher who worked on the crucial algorithm that led to the capture of the first image of a black hole, has become the target of online badist trolls seeking to discredit her work on the historical project.
After the National Science Foundation revealed on Wednesday the first captured image of a black hole, another image began to appear on social networks that showed Bouman reacting enthusiastically to the photo of the mbad.
The photo that showed Bouman with his hands intertwined as he reacted to the team's achievements became an instant symbol for female representation in STEM.
But since receiving his new fame, several badist trolls on Reddit and Twitter have circulated memes that contrast the work of Bouman with that of Andrew Chael, a white scientist who is also a member of the Event Horizon Telescope team behind the black hole project.
In the memes that quickly became viral on the platforms, the trolls said that Chael was actually responsible for "850,000 of the 900,000 lines of code that were written in the historical black hole image algorithm" and that he had done everything the real work in the project.
But Chael hastened to correct that narrative, arguing that it was badist, with a thread of its own on Thursday that has since gone viral.
"So apparently some (I hope very few) people online are using the fact that I am the main developer of the eht-imaging software library … to launch horrible and badist attacks against my colleague and friend Katie Bouman. For ", began on the thread of Twitter.
(1/7) So apparently some (I hope very few) people online are using the fact that I am the main developer of the eht-imaging software library (https://t.co/n7djw1r9hY) to launch attacks horrible and badist about my colleague and friend Katie Bouman. Having.
– Andrew Chael (@thisgreyspirit) April 12, 2019
"Our documents used three independent image software libraries (including one developed by my friend @sparse_k). While writing much of the code for one of these pipes, Katie was a big contributor to the software; it would never have worked without their contributions and the work of many others who wrote code, debugged and discovered how to use the code in challenging EHT data. "
"I'm excited that Katie has received recognition for her work and that she is inspiring people as an example of women's leadership in STEM. "I am also delighted that you are pointing out that this was a team effort that includes contributions from many young scientists, including many young scientists," he continued. "Together, we all do our job better; the number of commitments does not tell the full story of who was indispensable. "
"So even though I appreciate the congratulations for a result that I worked hard for years," he added, "if you congratulate me because you have a badist vendetta against Katie, go back and reconsider your priorities in life, otherwise, stay close. I started to tweet more about black holes and other topics that I love, including space, for being a gay astronomer, Ursula K. Le Guin, architecture and musicals, thanks for following me and let me know if you have any questions about the EHT!
Chael also made sure to clarify that he did not write "850,000 lines of code" for the project and said "there are about 68,000 lines in the current software, and I do not care how many of them I personally wrote."