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.

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.” -Stephen Hawking Well, the first week of the year is behind us here at Starts With A Bang! For most people, that means struggling to return from a long holiday break, but in the world of astronomy that means we’ve just come back from an incredible week of science…

“We are part of the universe that has developed a remarkable ability: We can hold an image of the world in our minds. We are matter contemplating itself.” -Sean Carroll If you take a look at our Universe today, you can learn all sorts of things about it. How the matter in it is distributed,…

“Other galaxies like Andromeda are shooting these ‘spitballs’ at us all the time.” -James Guillochon, coauthor on the new study Imagine you’re a star passing too close to a black hole. What’s going to happen to you? Yes, you’ll be tidally disrupted and eventually torn apart. Some of the matter will be swallowed, some will…

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital…

“The mystery about α is actually a double mystery. The first mystery – the origin of its numerical value α ≈ 1/137 has been recognized and discussed for decades. The second mystery – the range of its domain – is generally unrecognized.” -Malcolm H. MacGregor We assume that the fundamental constants are truly constant, but…

“Every philosophy also conceals a philosophy; every opinion is also a hideout, every word also a mask.” -Friedrich Nietzsche If you want to see all the way back to the Big Bang — to the cosmic microwave background — that means looking back through billions of light years worth of space. While individual point sources…

“I have difficulty to believe it, because nothing in Italy arrives ahead of time.” –Sergio Bertolucci, research director at CERN, on faster-than-light neutrinos A little over five years ago, the OPERA collaboration announced an astounding result: that neutrinos sent through more than 700km of rock arrived at their destination 60.7 nanoseconds faster than they ought…

“For me the best answer is not in words but in measurements.” -Elena Aprile Dark matter is perhaps the most mysterious substance in the Universe. It outmasses normal matter and radiation, which includes all the known particles in the Standard Model, by a factor of 5-to-1. The observational, astrophysical evidence for its existence is overwhelming,…

“You may hate gravity, but gravity doesn’t care.” –Clayton Christensen If all we had were galactic rotation curves — like those measured by Vera Rubin — we would know that something was wrong with our picture of the Universe, but we wouldn’t know how. Two equally good explanations, that there was either a flaw in…

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” -Winston Churchill Happy new year here at Starts With A Bang! No matter how 2016 was for you, there’s a new year dawning today, and whether you’ve got sun, clouds, rain or snow…