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.

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” -Terry Pratchett If you want, you can imagine back in the Universe to a time before it looked anything like ours did. Before there…

“There is a voice inside of you That whispers all day long, ‘I feel this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.’” -Shel Silverstein It’s pretty obvious that the Universe exists in such a way that it admits the possibility of intelligent life arising. After all, we’re here, we’re intelligent life, and…

“If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.” -Philip K. Dick When it comes to measuring the expansion history of the Universe, the concept is simple enough: take something you know about an object, like a mass, a size, or a brightness, then measure what the mass, size or brightness appears…

“I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.” -Schrödinger Ever think that if we just pitted enough intelligence at a particular problem, we’d be bound to solve it? That was certainly the approach that two of the greatest minds in history — Einstein and Schrödinger — took, when…

“Since man, fragment of the universe, is governed by the same laws that preside over the heavens, it is by no means absurd to search there above for the themes of our lives, for those frigid sympathies that participate in our achievements as well as our blunderings.” -Marguerite Yourcenar Galaxies are everywhere we look in…

“My love for you would blot out the sun like a cloud made out of yogurt. I hope you brought a spoon.” -Jarod Kintz There’s so much we take for granted in the world, that often we don’t appreciate how important sticking together is. Let Robert Plant and Alison Krauss remind you, with their joint song, Stick…

“The simple fact of existence, of being aware that you are aware; this to me is the most astounding fact.” -William Hurt There was so much that happened this past week on Starts With A Bang, from eruptions to bad science reporting to black holes and more, that we couldn’t help but share so much with…

“Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.” -Robert Frost We’ve come…

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” -Joseph Campbell When we look at the centers of galaxies, it’s no surprise that there are large black holes there, millions or even billions of times the mass of the Sun. As we…

“The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth, whether it’s scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth! It is the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based. And if you can’t find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don’t deserve to wear that…