Ethan was born in New York City as the son of a Jewish postal worker. He did his undergrad at Northwestern, taught public school in Houston, Texas and Los Angeles, California, before moving to Florida, where he got his PhD in theoretical astrophysics at the University of Florida. After that, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he taught at the University of Wisconsin, ate too much cheese, and also met his life partner, Jamie. After working in astrophysics research at the University of Arizona and starting the world-renowned science blog, Starts With A Bang, he moved from the hellish desert to rain-soaked Portland in 2008. Since then, he's been a professor at the University of Portland and Lewis & Clark College, grown a nationally renowned beard and mustache, got invited to join a circus and probably drank more beer than a healthy person should. He currently works as the head curator at Trapit, and can't wait to tell you a little bit more about the Universe.

“I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.” -Alexis de Tocqueville You don’t need to be right to…

“Look, there’s no metaphysics on earth like chocolates.” -Fernando Pessoa One of the most iconic associations with Valentine’s Day is chocolate. And not just any chocolate, mind you, but good-quality chocolate, with a creamy, silky-smooth texture, a firm but shiny structure, and an even, rich consistency and taste throughout. Perhaps surprisingly, there’s a rich and…

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves.” -David Reitze More than 100 years after Einstein’s relativity came out, one of its last great predictions — the existence of gravitational radiation — has been directly experimentally confirmed! The LIGO collaboration has observed two ~30 solar mass black holes merging together, producing a slightly less massive final…

“We stand on a great threshold in the human history of space exploration. If life is prevalent in our neighborhood of the galaxy, it is within our resources and technological reach to be the first generation in human history to finally cross this threshold, and to learn if there is life of any kind beyond…

“Einstein’s gravitational theory, which is said to be the greatest single achievement of theoretical physics, resulted in beautiful relations connecting gravitational phenomena with the geometry of space; this was an exciting idea.” -Richard Feynman When we look out into the Universe, we normally gain information about it by gathering light of various wavelengths. However, there…

“A mouse does not rely on just one hole.” -Plautus When you look at the largest, most powerful optical telescopes in the world, they all have something in common: they all have holes in their central, primary mirrors. This is for a few reasons, including that they’re all reflectors, they all need to focus light…

“Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.” -Henry David Thoreau With more stories of the Universe having been told this past week at Starts With A Bang, it’s always a thrill to look back, see what we’ve covered and see what thoughts and ideas they’ve…

“Biological diversity is messy. It walks, it crawls, it swims, it swoops, it buzzes. But extinction is silent, and it has no voice other than our own.” -Paul Hawken Looking at the history of life on Earth, the fossil record shows something incontrovertible: in order for new forms of life to rise to dominance, it…

“We find them smaller and fainter, in constantly increasing numbers, and we know that we are reaching into space, farther and farther, until, with the faintest nebulae that can be detected with the greatest telescopes, we arrive at the frontier of the known universe.” -Edwin Hubble If you want to see farther, deeper and at…

The Two Big Bangs (Synopsis)

“These theories were based on the hypothesis that all the matter in the universe was created in one big bang at a particular time in the remote past.” -Fred Hoyle It’s making headlines every time someone brings it up: a quantum calculation, a new theory or some mathematical evidence proves it once and for all: there…