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.

“It is the function of science to discover the existence of a general reign of order in nature and to find the causes governing this order. And this refers in equal measure to the relations of man – social and political – and to the entire universe as a whole.” -Dmitri Mendeleev When the Universe…

“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them.” -Christiaan Huygens It was quite a surprise when we started discovering all the exoplanets that were out there. While there’s a big…

“I’ve heard it said that God made all men, but Samuel Colt made all men equal. We’d see what Mr. Colt could do for a woman.” ― Cherie Priest Bullets are incredibly dangerous when fired from a gun, but that’s true even when they’re fired up in the air, not at a target directly. Falling,…

How flat can a planet be? (Synopsis)

“‘I’ll follow him to the ends of the earth,’ she sobbed. Yes, darling. But the earth doesn’t have any ends.” -Tom Robbins We have some pretty good definitions of what it takes to be a planet, and one part of that definition is that a world needs to be massive enough to pull itself into…

“The problem is, you’re trying to find these really faint things, but you’re looking behind these really bright things. The brightest galaxies in the universe are in clusters, and those cluster galaxies are blocking the background galaxies we’re trying to observe.” -Rachael Livermore One of the biggest puzzles in science is exactly how the Universe…

“We have finally established the contours that define the supercluster of galaxies we can call home … This is not unlike finding out for the first time that your hometown is actually part of much larger country that borders other nations.” -Brent Tully It’s been another remarkable week here at Starts With A Bang! Full of science,…

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” -Kurt Vonnegut We all know how explosions work: a tremendous release of energy causes a rapid outward expansion, and the most energetic particles…

“To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” -Nicolaus Copernicus As we peel back the layers of information deeper and deeper into the Universe’s history, we uncover progressively more knowledge about how everything we know today came to…

“For the first time we can learn about individual stars from near the beginning of time. There are surely many more out there.” -Neil Gehrels We’ve come incredibly far in our quest to learn how the Universe came to be the way it is today. We can see out in space for tens of billions…

“To morrow, I believe, is to be an eclipse of the sun, and I think it perfectly meet and proper that the sun in the heavens, and the glory of the Republic should both go into obscurity and darkness together.” -Benjamin F. Wade The Moon is spherical, and so its shadow should be a circle…