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.

When you think about it, it wasn’t all that long ago — just 50 years — that we didn’t know where our Universe came from. A hot, dense early state? A cyclical, swirling past? Or perhaps a time-independent one, where the Universe back then was not so different from our own today? All that changed in…

The Strangest Theory We Know Is True (Synopsis)

When it comes to physics, there sure are some strange theories — and even stranger phenomena — out there. The notion that particles don’t have fixed, intrinsic properties that are simultaneously measurable can only be described as weird, and the fact that you can add as much energy as you want to a particle but…

“The only thing I have learnt over the years is that if you enjoy your work and put in the best efforts, it will show. If you follow this process, things work out. But if you go chasing a formula, success will elude you.” -Mahesh Babu When you know something is there but you can’t…

“You can clean your sword as much as you want but the blood still stains it.” -Matsuro I can’t count for you the number of shirts I’ve ruined through spills and other stains. Have a listen to José González‘s song, Lovestain, while you consider what you’d do if you got a stain on your clothes. I’d…

“Everything comes at the right time, but if the right time is too late to be patient, go earlier before it becomes too late.” -Michael Bassey Johnson After another fun-and-science-filled week here on Starts With A Bang, where we’ve covered topics ranging from near-to-far, from historical to very modern, and from the beginnings of the Universe…

“I sometimes catch myself looking up at the Moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home. I look up at the moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?” -Tom Hanks Imagine,…

“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. It’s a crazy world out there. Be curious.” -Stephen Hawking The story of where everything came from in the Universe — of how we came from empty, expanding space to…

How to destroy the entire Universe (Synopsis)

“Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” -Darth Vader Supervillains always disappoint me. With ambitions like murdering a single human, destroying a city, or endangering all life on the planet, they’re always thinking small. Where are the…

The Astrologer’s Triumph (Synopsis)

When you think of astrology today, you probably think of someone who makes false promises and proclaims either platitudes or fabrications as though they were preordained truths. But for many millennia dating to just a few centuries ago, astrology was anything but. In fact, by many metrics, it was the very beginning of what has…

Einstein’s Greatest Legacy (Synopsis)

When it comes to Einstein, the first thought that comes to people’s mind is usually relativity — either special or general — or perhaps his famous E = mc^2. (Except for Anupam Garg; my old classical mechanics professor used to joke that Einstein’s greatest contribution to physics was his shortened summation notation.) But Einstein’s legacy…