Dr Daniel Mortlock

Lecturer in Astrostatistics

d.mortlock@ null imperial.ac.uk

Phone: +44 (0)20 7594 7878
Fax: +44 (0)20 759 47772
Room 1018a, Level 10
Imperial College London, Astrophysics, Blackett Laboratory, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK

I am a lecturer in astrostatistics in the Physics and Mathematics departments at Imperial College London.  Aside from the research and teaching I do at Imperial, I am actively involved in outreach.  A full summary of all my professional activities is given in my CV.




Most of my research involves the application of statistical ideas - particularly Bayesian inference - to problems in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology, although I also do some work that is purely statistical and some that is purely astronomical.  Some personal research highlights are:


  • I (co-)discovered of the most distant known quasar, ULAS J1120+0641, which is seen as it was when the Universe was just 0.8 billion years old (i.e., just 6% of its current age).  The discovery was announced here and the spectrum of the quasar is available here.  This object was identified by combining big data techniques with Bayesian model comparison, a process that is described here and here.  This discovery was featured by the the Associated Press, BBC, El Pais, the Daily Mirror, Scientific American, Time, Wired amongst others.

  • I was one of a small team who made the first tests of whether our Universe has ever collided with another, which would produce a "bubble collision" signature in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation.  Even though our result was a non-detection, this research has been featured by the BBC.


  • I am a member of the Planck Collaboration, which recently released the most accurate maps ever made of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation.  These maps have confirmed that the Universe is (very close to) being spatially flat Universe and that it will not only go on expanding for ever, but will expand at an ever-increasing rate.  The Planck data release was featured by most major news media, but the absolute highlight was that the sky map was shown on the front page of the New York Times (and above the fold!).


  • I (co-)discovered what was the coldest known brown dwarf (a sub-stellar object that is less massive than the smallest stars but more massive than even the largest known planets), ULAS J0034-0052.  This object has a surface temperature of just 400 C and is more nearby than almost all the stars visible to the naked eye.  This research was also featured by the BBC.



I currently teach the following courses:


  • MSE101 Mathematics And Computing (a first year course in the Materials Science Department)

  • M5MS04 Computational Statistics (a Statistics MSc course in the Mathematics Department)

  • M5MS16 Principles Of Bayesian Inference (a Statistics MSc course in the Mathematics Department)

 I have previously taught:


  • M5MS16 Bayesian Inference In Astronomy (a Statistics MSc course in the Mathematics Department)


One of the joys of my job is that I get the chance to talk to non-specialists about the research that is currently going on in astronomy, astrophyisics, cosmology and statistics.  I am always happy to talk to school groups, astronomical societies or, really, any interested people.  Please e-mail me at the address that appears at the top of this page if.