Few could expect that the historical release of the first image of a black hole would be transmitted into a public spectacle of a sexist assault – although such times we live in, in which virtually every news has been selected by reactionaries.
On April 10, the Horizontal Telescope for Events (EHT) composition presented the first direct image of a black hole. The faded composite owen for two centuries progresses in mathematics, science and electronics. In front of the painting, only artistic illustrations were available to reflect the mysterious singularities that distort the spontaneous continuum, thanks to their massive masses, creating such a gravitational force that even light can not escape. Shortly after the presentation of EHT, MIT presented the image of Katie Buchan, a 29-year-old computer scientist, whose work was key to the project, at the moment when the first black hole was processed.
"Here is the moment when the first black hole image is being processed, from the eyes of researcher Kathy Buhmann," MIT's largest research lab, the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory, told Twitter.
Buman, a postdoctoral associate with the Event Horizon telescope and an assistant at the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences at the California Institute of Technology, looked ecstatic about the photo sitting in front of her computer, and her hands covering her mouth with awe. The photo immediately made the face of the project – and therefore the informal collection of sexist trolls began with a sexist investigation to invalidate its contributions.
He followed the famous story of the story. On her behalf, false accounts were posted on Twitter. Twitter men rejected her scientific contributions as only feminist posture. And there was a debate about whether or not it was worth the Wikipedia page.
It's hard to imagine that the same answer would follow if a white man was in that image instead of Buman. Salon addressed Buman for an interview, but a representative for MIT said he had not already interviewed the press.
It's no secret that women are under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. According to statistics for 2016, women account for only 30 percent of the STEM workforce. Often, their contributions become unnoticed, as history shows us. For example, when people think about the mission that Apollo led to the moon, they probably think of the astronaut Neil Armstrong, and not, say, Margaret Hamilton, who developed the flight software for Apollo's space program. Setting Buman at the center of the discovery may well be a conscious choice of optics for the MIT research laboratory, since STEM fields are often criticized for lack of gender equality, but public reaction was almost certainly not unexpected.
Regarding chaos, Buanman wrote in a post on Facebook: "No algorithm or personality did this picture, it required an incredible talent for a team of scientists around the world and years of hard work for instrument development, data processing, processing methods images, and analysis techniques that were necessary to pull this seemingly impossible feat. It was really honored, and I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to work with all of you. "
Her response was merciful and emphasized how great science projects are going through collective collaboration. As many have pointed out, her answer illuminates the false celebration of the "lonely genius" in Trinity, in which one person is responsible for ingenious creation. (Even Isaac Newton was famously uncomfortable in the way he was treated as the sole thinker of gravity: "If I've seen more, it's standing on the shoulders of the giants," wrote in a letter to fellow natural philosopher Robert Hook). The black hole project was run by more than 200 people, and Buhman attracted public attention was not an attempt to deter her credibility or contributions, but to remind people that something monumental in the world of science could not happen without much brains. As Buchan explained in her TED Talk 2016, she likened it to a forensic sketch, but instead created an algorithm to mimic the mystery in the universe.
However, the worst thing about this whole saga is that it can cause fear among young women who want to continue their careers in STEM. The message from Buman's reaction is that if you are a woman who faces a massive scientific breakthrough, sexist internet tricks will spend too much time on your harassment and try to break your credibility.
Women often face harassment of various social media platforms – especially in professions such as journalism and politics, where they are in the public eye. As we move forward is unclear, since such offensive incidents are capable of inspire many to stop using social media platforms altogether, à la Kelly Marie Tran.