Prof. Shay Zucker specialises in astrostatistics and studies mainly binary stars and exoplanets, but occasionally also studies other astronomical phenomena such as asteroids, stars orbiting the centre of the Milky Way galaxy or even quasars.
As a Master's student he published together with his then advisor Tsevi Mazeh the algorithm TODCOR, used for measuring radial velocities of spectroscopic binary stars. The algorithm eventually became one of the basic tools in studying binary stars.
Later as part of his PhD research he developed, together with Tsevi Mazeh and Géza Kovács from Hungary, the BLS algorithm for the detection of transiting exoplanets. Also BLS became a standard tool in the search of planets.
Shay was a post-doctoral fellow in the Observatory of Geneva, in 2004 where he led a Swiss-Israeli team who discovered a unique system, HD41004, which includes two stars, a brown dwarf and a planet, using an upgraded version of TODCOR.
As a post-doctoral fellow in the Weizmann Institute of Science, he led a team from the Weizmann Institute and from Max Planck Institute in Germany, who showed the importance of relativistic (post-newtonian) effects in the observed orbits of stars around the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Based on those results, and together with Tal Alexander from the Weizmann Institute and Prof. Tsevi Mazeh, they predicted in 2007 the possibility of detecting a new kind of binary stars - "beaming binary stars". The orbital motion of those stars induces miniscule changes in their photometric signals which may be detectable by modern instruments. This prediction has already been corroborated numerous times using the Kepler satellite.
Currently Prof. Zucker is a member of the DPAC consortium and is affiliated with the CU7 group, which is dedicated to analyze and characterize temporal variability. Prof. Zucker is focusing on the possibility to detect transiting planets by Gaia.