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.

“That’s a misconception, Lennie. The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.” -Jandy Nelson There are all sorts of explanations that people give for why the sky is blue. Some say that it’s because of the fact that oxygen is a light blue gas. Others contend that the sky reflects the blue ocean, giving…

“The older you get, the more you realize that the way you look is a reflection of how you treat yourself.” -Hope Davis Age may be just a number, but in cosmic terms, there are some rules it’s pretty important to obey. It should be impossible to have a complex creature that’s older than the…

“I’d rather fight 100 structure fires than a wildfire. With a structure fire you know where your flames are, but in the woods it can move anywhere; it can come right up behind you.” -Tom Watson On September 2nd, a group of teenagers were lighting fireworks in the Columbia Gorge near Eagle Creek. They would…

“The sun is a miasma Of incandescent plasma The sun’s not simply made out of gas No, no, no The sun is a quagmire It’s not made of fire Forget what you’ve been told in the past” -They Might Be Giants Ask anyone where the Sun (or any star) gets its energy from, and most…

“Just the fact that you so desperately attempt to dismantle our theory proves that we are on the right track. Otherwise you would not feel so threatened by our theories!” -Giogrio Tsoukalos (in a letter to Jason Colavito) Whenever we detect a signal that we can’t immediately explain, it’s a very human trait to ascribe…

“There will be days when we lose faith. Days when our allies turn against us…but the day will never come that we forsake this planet and its people.” ―Optimus Prime There was too much to simply keep it to a single article a day this week here at Starts With A Bang! The dynamic duo of Megan…

“Comrades, this man has a nice smile, but he’s got iron teeth.” -Andrei A. Gromyko When you have a star, perhaps its most defining characteristic is that it fuses lighter elements into heavier ones, releasing energy. While all stars fuse hydrogen into helium, the more massive ones will undergo helium fusion, with the most massive…

“For although it is certainly true that quantitative measurements are of great importance, it is a grave error to suppose that the whole of experimental physics can be brought under this heading.” -Hendrik Casimir Ever since we first discovered that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, scientists have puzzles as to what’s causing it.…

“It’s becoming clear that in a sense the cosmos provides the only laboratory where sufficiently extreme conditions are ever achieved to test new ideas on particle physics. The energies in the Big Bang were far higher than we can ever achieve on Earth. So by looking at evidence for the Big Bang, and by studying…

“I go to the Natural History Museum and look at the cage of stuffed starlings there. But my favourite thing is the big blue whale. The scale of it is unbelievable, and makes you feel how insignificant you are as a human being.” -Arthur Darvill How good is your sense of scale? Humans are notoriously…