Tansu Daylan is a Kavli postdoctoral research fellow in astrophysics at MIT. He received his PhD in physics from Harvard University in 2018.
His research covers a broad range of problems in astrophysics, including the detection and characterization of planets beyond our Solar System and searching for dark matter in the Universe. Using neural networks and Bayesian statistics, he builds novel statistical tools with applications in exoplanet and cosmology research. During his PhD, he showed, in a widely known paper, that the anomalous gamma-ray emission in the center of the Milky Way was consistent with originating from the self-annihilation of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (Daylan+2016). Later, he developed a transdimensional and Bayesian inference framework called “probabilistic cataloging” (Daylan+2017) and a method to infer the small-scale structure of dark matter using strongly lensed images of distant galaxies (Daylan+2018).
He is currently a vetting lead in the science team of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a spaceborne telescope surveying the sky for transiting exoplanets. He works towards the discovery and validation of thousands of exoplanet candidates from TESS. In 2020, he led the discovery and ground-based follow-up of four transiting exoplanets hosted by the bright Sun-like star, HD 108236: an inner super-Earth and three sub-Neptunes (Daylan+2020). He also led the TESS-recharacterization of the atmosphere of the ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-121b (Daylan+2019). Furthermore, he built a software to perform PSF photometry using TESS Full Frame Images (FFIs) and a pipeline to jointly model light curve and radial velocity data (Günther&Daylan2020). More recently, he is working on the atmospheric characterization of exoplanets, finding signatures of black holes in the TESS light curves, and performing unsupervised classification and outlier detection using time-series data based on convolutional autoencoders as well as feature engineering.
He holds a double major in electrical and electronics engineering (2012) and physics (2013) from METU, Turkey. Between 2011 and 2013, he was an undergraduate researcher at CERN working on the AMS-02, a particle detector on the ISS measuring cosmic rays from outer space.