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.

Physics at the Universe’s Limits (Synopsis)

When you think about cosmology and the fundamental questions scientists are trying to address, you inevitably wind up thinking about dark matter, dark energy and black holes as the three biggest topics that shape our view of the Universe. But there are plenty of other aspects to this branch of science that deserve at least…

Dark Matter and the Origin of Life (Synopsis)

When you think of the origin of life, you probably think about the atoms coming together to make molecules, the molecules coming together to make self-replicating, information-encoded strands, and how all that took place here on Earth. But you might want to consider a different point of view! Instead, try thinking about the fact that,…

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” -William Shakespeare But in the case of Orion, it’s great because of not only how it was born, but where and when: recently, and so close to us! And that makes our views of not only the…

“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.”  -W. Somerset Maugham There are so many things out there in this world to marvel at, that it’s important to remember to appreciate all that’s out…

Comments of the Week #36: The Nuclear Option

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.” -Omar N. Bradley There are some words that, seemingly, you can’t utter without inflaming people’s passions in one way or another, and nuclear seems to fall squarely in…

“You can try to lie to yourself. You can try to tell yourself that you put in the time. But you know — and so do I.” -J.J. Watt Before there was the Universe we know and love today, there were many epochs and eras that came before, including one before there were galaxies and stars, one…

“I am undecided whether or not the Milky Way is but one of countless others all of which form an entire system. Perhaps the light from these infinitely distant galaxies is so faint that we cannot see them.” -Johann Lambert There’s a problem with our view of the night sky: beautiful though it is, we’re incapable…

“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.”  -Judith Thurman You’d think that landing on a comet for the first time, with all ten instruments functioning, and collecting more than two full Earth-days worth of data would be…

The Chameleon in the Vacuum Chamber (Synopsis)

The particles of the standard model, some type of dark matter and dark energy, and the four fundamental forces. That’s all there is, right? What if that isn’t true? What if dark energy, for example, isn’t simply energy inherent to space itself? What if it isn’t just an unusual property of gravitation, but rather a dynamical…

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” -Henri Matisse But the surrounding fog might not come from our minds nor from our world, but rather from the plane of the galaxy itself. Nevertheless, the brightest clusters — the ones placed serendipitously — are clearly visible (and…