Popular bi-weekly magazine Science News published their 2020 edition of SN Top 10 Scientists for this year. For the sixth consecutive year, Science News featured 10 early and mid-career scientists who are aiming to solve some of science's biggest challenges.
Bangladeshi astrophysicist Tonima Tasnim Ananna topped the list this year for her outstanding work and research on black holes. With the help of artificial intelligence, Ananna has successfully captured the most complete picture yet of black holes across the universe —where they are, how they grow and how they affect their environments.
For her PhD from Yale University in 2019, her goal was to create a model of how black holes grow and change across cosmic history. To make the research more extensive and detailed, she developed a neural network, a type of artificial intelligence, to find a description of the black hole population that explained what all the observatories saw.
Ananna believes understanding black holes is key to understanding how cosmic structures, everything from galaxy clusters down to planets and perhaps even life, came to be. Her model can describe black holes at different cosmic distances, how black holes grow and change over time and might help in figuring out what black holes eat.
Ananna worked as an intern at NASA and CERN, traveled to the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, and spent a year at the University of Cambridge. She attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania for her undergraduate studies and is currently working as Postdoctoral Research Associate at Dartmouth College.
Inspired by her mother, who first told her about the Pathfinder spacecraft landing on Mars. When Ananna was just a 5 years old, she developed a passion for astronomy from an early age.
Ananna co-founded Wi-STEM (pronounced "wisdom"), a mentorship network for girls and young women who are interested in science. She and four other Bangladeshi scientists, who studied in the United States, currently mentor a group of 20 female high school and college students in Bangladesh, helping them find paths to pursue science.