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Congratulations to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team, including Professor Avery Broderick, for being honoured with the Royal Astronomical Society’s Group Award today! This award recognizes outstanding achievement by a large consortium within astronomy.
In April 2019, the EHT team released the first ever image of a black hole, the now famous M87*, showcasing the astounding results possible in a world-wide collaboration. In order to get an image of a black hole, astronomers had realized that they would need a telescope about the size of the Earth. Instead of building one massive telescope, the team came up with a different approach, a network of radio telescopes spread across the world, working together to image the same location simultaneously.
“The realization of the EHT represented a formidable challenge and was made possible only by decades of hard work and commitment by 13 stakeholder institutions, a variety of agencies, and more than 340 researchers,” the Royal Astronomical Society’s citation statement said. “This is one of the finest examples of an achievement resulting from close collaboration by researchers from around the world.”
The image of M87* was not the end of this research collaboration. "The images and subsequent analysis of M87* published thus far is merely the beginning,” says Broderick, a professor in Physics and Astronomy at Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. “We have now entered the era of horizon-imaging, with the transformative science that enables."
Within the large collaboration of EHT scientists, Broderick’s role has been to build the models for analyzing the data gathered by these telescopes. Being involved from the start, predicting observations from model systems, through to analyzing the data, Broderick and his team have been studying the fundamental science of black holes, and our understanding of them.
"We continue to be awed by the impact our work has had, both popularly and professionally," says Broderick.
This award is a testament to the outstanding collaborations that astronomy facilitates, bringing teams together from around the world to work together on some of the greatest unknowns of the universe. Congratulations to the entire Event Horizon Telescope team!
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.