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.

“Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.” -Albert Camus There’s nothing quite like the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Some 200-400 billion stars are located there, including our own Sun. From our…

“An ancestor of mine maintained that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” -Mr. Spock, Star Trek Sometimes the truth is hard to handle on its own, so we resort to fiction to make it a little easier to swallow. Have a listen to Summer Fiction’s song, By The Sea,…

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery Every week holds an amazing look at the Universe in a unique way here at Starts With A Bang, and this week saw not only a series of new posts from me, but two contributed ones, including…

“A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.” -Tennessee Williams The depiction of dying in space — by exposure to its terrifying vacuum — is incredibly varied, from freezing to swelling and bulging to simply exploding. For this week’s Ask Ethan, we take on…

“The moon was like this awesome, romantic, mysterious thing, hanging up there in the sky where you could never reach it, no matter how much you wanted to. But you’re right. Once you’re actually here, it’s just a big, dull rock.” -Futurama Oh, but the big dull rocks are fascinating in their own right. Especially, mind…

Death is not the end (Synopsis)

“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.” -J.R.R. Tolkien No matter how well we care for our bodies, they eventually wear down, give out, and…

Numbers Game (Synopsis)

No one science can stand wholly on its own. For inquiry about the Universe to give a correct, complete picture, it requires that we bring in a whole slew of evidence, often from tangentially related fields. The interplay between three fields in particular — astronomy, physics, and math (not a science, but the tool used…

One of the great, catastrophic truths of the Universe is that everything has an expiration date. And this includes every single point of light in the entire sky. The most massive stars — like Betelgeuse (at the upper left) — will die in a spectacular supernova explosion when their final stage of core fuel runs out.…

“These spots have never been observed by anyone before me; and from my observations of them, often repeated, I have been led to the opinion which I have expressed, namely, that I feel sure that the surface of the Moon is not perfectly smooth, free from inequalities and exactly spherical… but that, on the contrary,…

Weekend Diversion: Bubbles on Ice (Synopsis)

“The only frozen heart around here is yours.” -Anna, to Hans, from Frozen When something’s difficult, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s beautiful. Have a listen to Eilen Jewell‘s haunting and memorable song, Fourth Degree. Next, before you curse the bitter cold yet again, particularly those of you suffering from far below average temperatures, consider…