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.

“Time takes it all whether you want it to or not, time takes it all. Time bares it away, and in the end there is only darkness.” -Stephen King This story seems to come up every few months. Someone detects a possibly unexpected signal somewhere in the sky — normally correlated to the centers of…

“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 Sure, it’s…

Does water freeze or boil in space? (Synopsis)

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” -Rabindranath Tagore And you can’t answer a hypothetical question for certain, at least in science, without doing the experiment for yourself. Here on Earth, liquid water is plentiful; our planet has the stable temperatures and pressures that water needs to exist in its…

2014’s greatest meteor shower (Synopsis)

“Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Sure, sure, and they’re not even big, impressive stones. But like any real estate agent will tell you, location is everything. And when your tiny, pebble-sized stone originates from…

“You may have heard the world is made up of atoms and molecules, but it’s really made up of stories. When you sit with an individual that’s been here, you can give quantitative data a qualitative overlay.” -William Turner This blog has always been about the cosmic story common to us all: the story of…

“The probability of success is difficult to estimate; but if we never search the chance of success is zero.” -Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison Although, for many various reasons, most of us may find the prospect of journeying into deep space beyond our physical grasp, that doesn’t means we can’t journey there in our imaginations.…

“In that little party there was not one who would desert another; yet we were of different countries, different colours, different races, different religions–and one of us was of a different world.” -Edgar Rice Burroughs It’s the end of yet another week, and so it’s time to look back on all we’ve written about and…

“Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature.” -Michael Faraday And yet, it’s often incredibly difficult to use those laws of nature — even if they’re as simple as can be — to actually measure and quantitatively understand the Universe around us. Perhaps one of the most glaring…

“Mars once was wet and fertile. It’s now bone dry. Something bad happened on Mars. I want to know what happened on Mars so that we may prevent it from happening here on Earth.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson No, what happened on Mars isn’t in any danger of happening here on Earth, despite what your sci-fi…

Why Pluto Still Matters (Synopsis)

“I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet.” -Giuseppe Piazzi Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would…