History and Philosophy of Science contributions to observing black holes

Call for cooperation

Beeld van het centrale zwarte gat van Messier 87
The central black hole of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the Virgo cluster. Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration/ESO, CC BY

What does it take to make videos of black holes? Astronomers, engineers.... and philosophers, art historians, political scientists...

In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration produced the first-ever image of a black hole. To achieve this, the EHT used 8 existing telescopes scattered across the world to construct a single, virtual, Earth-sized telescope. The next-generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT) aims to increase the number of sites to roughly 20 over the next decade, in order to make high resolution images and even videos of black holes.

The ngEHT embraces the realization that optimizing such a large-scale endeavour requires input not only from STEM fields, but also from the social sciences and the humanities, such as integrated history and philosophy of science (HPS). It includes a fully-integrated working group on historical, philosophical and cultural aspects (HPC). The HPC working group focuses on ethical telescope siting, on algorithms, inferences & visualization, on foundations, and on questions concerning governance and knowledge formation in a collaboration of over 300 members.

If you would like to join this unprecedented STEM-humanities-social-sciences collaboration, for instance in the context of writing an HPS Master thesis, please contact Utrecht University’s HPC contact person Niels Martens at n.c.m.martens@uu.nl