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.

“Hundreds or thousands of years from now, when people look back at our generation, they will remember us for being the first people who found the Earth-like worlds.” –Sara Seager Just a scant 25 years ago, we had never yet found and confirmed another planet orbiting a star other than our own. Fast forward to…

“The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeleton of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life.” –Arthur Koestler For every galaxy out there, what we typically see — the stars — is only representative of a tiny fraction, maybe 2%, of all the mass that’s present…

“A princess is many things, and a raptor is one of them.” –Laura Cooper For those of us who love the movies, there are two things that are indelibly etched into our memories — not necessarily together — as Galactic, featuring Chali 2na, sing to us, if we Think Back. I’m referring, of course, to Disney…

“We are a singularity that makes music out of noise because we must hurry. We make a harvest of loneliness and desiring in the blank wasteland of the cosmos.” -Jack Gilbert This past week at Starts With A Bang saw five new stories about the Universe, from our own home planet to topics about the birth of…

“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.” -Bernard Baruch Take a common, macroscopic object — like an apple — and imagine what’s going on inside at the level of individual particles. At a small, fundamental scale, they’re just bouncing off of one another, rapidly in motion due to the…

“Soon the earth will tilt on its axis and begin to dance to the reggae beat to the accompaniment of earthquake. And who can resist the dance of the earthquake, mon?” –Peter Tosh But it isn’t true that the Earth’s axial tilt will change, is it? Or rather, if it did, how would you know? Believe…

“Scientific ideas should be simple, explanatory, predictive. The inflationary multiverse as currently understood appears to have none of those properties.” –Paul Steinhardt, 2014 Cosmic inflation is alternately talked about by serious scientists as either the definitive beginning to our Universe, the thing that happened before and set up the Big Bang with absolute certainty, or…

“People get cranky when you burst their bubble. Over time, advances in astronomy have relentlessly reinforced the utter insignificance of Earth on a celestial scale.” –Nathan Myhrvold When new stars form from a collapsing molecular cloud, the hottest, bluest, brightest stars emit high-energy ultraviolet radiation. This evaporates, ionizes and pushes the gas outwards, creating a bubble…

“Laughs don’t come in barrels. They come from inside you as your body’s response to delight.” –Pinkie Pie Every once in a while, a constraint is placed on an artist, musician or creator that results in something more powerful than you would have ever found otherwise. Have a listen to Keller Williams‘ wonderful song, Slo…

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” -Johnny Cash This past week at Starts…