I'm a postdoc in the astrophysics group at MIT, where I've been since August 2018.
I grew up in Newcastle, Australia and did my undergraduate science degree at the Australian National University in Canberra between 2005-2008. By the end of my degree, I'd developed a strong interest in exoplanets and for my fourth-year thesis had the opportunity to dive into the field properly for the first time. I participated in a transit survey conducted with the 40-inch telescope (now decommissioned) at Siding Spring Observatory and looked into the problem of false positives caused by eclipsing binary stars (Evans & Sackett, 2010). I then went on to earn an MSc in Astrophysics from the University of Sydney in 2010, where I used aperture masking interferometry to search for substellar companions around nearby stars (Evans et al., 2012) and was lucky enough to travel to Hawaii twice to use the Keck Telescopes.
Between 2010-2014, I completed a DPhil at the University of Oxford. During this time I discovered my passion for atmospheric studies and made a number of observing trips to La Palma Observatory in the Canary Islands. I also started analyzing datasets obtained with the Hubble (Evans et al., 2013) and Spitzer space telescopes (Evans et al., 2015), which remains my specialty today.
Following my DPhil, I was a postdoc at the University of Exeter between 2014-2018. Our research group primarily focused on space-based spectroscopy of exoplanet atmospheres and I started to lead my own Hubble and Spitzer observing programs. Although most of my time was spent with datasets acquired in space (Evans et al., 2016, 2017, 2018), I also managed to sneak in a couple of observing runs with VLT at the spectacular Paranal Observatory in Chile. Since moving to MIT, I've continued using space-based observatories to build up increasingly detailed portraits of hot Jupiters (Mikal-Evans et al., 2019, 2020) and to start exploring the atmospheres of cooler sub-Neptunes (Mikal-Evans et al., 2021).
Image: Seven Mile Beach near Forster, Australia