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.

Imagine that you’ve got that absolutely weightless feeling, the kind you get when you lose your balance and hurtle towards the ground. Are you on a roller coaster? Did you fall out of an airplane? Or are you in an accelerating elevator? According to Einstein’s Equivalence Principle, there’s really no way for you to tell,…

“Curiosity is the essence of human existence. ‘Who are we? Where are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?’… I don’t know. I don’t have any answers to those questions. I don’t know what’s over there around the corner. But I want to find out.” -Eugene Cernan, last human on the Moon…

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” -Isaac Asimov Yet it’s that intersection — of science with our day-to-day lives, our imaginations, our hopes, fears and dreams — that’s going to be the thing that drives us towards a scientifically literate future. Have a listen…

“That there were other worlds, invisible, unknown, beyond imagination even, was a revelation to him.” -Kim Edwards And every time two particles interact with one another, the Universe is forever different from how it was a moment before. Here at Starts With A Bang, this past week saw us explore a number of aspects of our ever-changing…

“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.” -Alan Watts Neutron star matter is the stuff of legends: it’s the densest three-dimensional material to exist in our Universe. With a density…

“As a boy I believed I could make myself invisible. I’m not sure that I ever could, but I certainly had the ability to pass unnoticed.” -Terence Stamp When you take a look at the stars visible in the night sky, you’re only seeing a tiny fraction of what’s actually present in our galaxy. Your…

The Sun’s Littlest Secret (Synopsis)

“Every time we get slapped down, we can say, ‘Thank you, Mother Nature,’ because it means we’re about to learn something important.” -John Bahcall And what’s possibly more important than learning how the Sun works? For nearly all of human history — well into the 20th century — we really didn’t know. Could it have…

Photonic Booms (Synopsis)

Imagine the surface of the Moon, so distant, and an infinitely precise and powerful laser pointer. With a flick of your wrist, you can send the dot that you see flying across the Moon’s surface as quickly as you can manage. Without too much difficulty, in fact, you’ll find yourself breaking the speed of light!…

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” -Yousuf Karsh When you find an incredibly huge, dense collection of mass, all together in one place, it generally indicates a galaxy cluster of tremendous size. Under circumstances like this, the phenomenon of gravitational lensing is often…

“Her will tells nearly all. She left an estate worth $314.91, mostly in Liberty Bonds, with a few items such as a desk valued at $5. She never married and had few living relatives. She also left behind a legacy of a great astronomical discovery.” -Jeremy Bernstein, on Henrietta Leavitt Today is International Women’s Day,…