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.

One of the great, catastrophic truths of the Universe is that everything has an expiration date. And this includes every single point of light in the entire sky. The most massive stars — like Betelgeuse (at the upper left) — will die in a spectacular supernova explosion when their final stage of core fuel runs out.…

“These spots have never been observed by anyone before me; and from my observations of them, often repeated, I have been led to the opinion which I have expressed, namely, that I feel sure that the surface of the Moon is not perfectly smooth, free from inequalities and exactly spherical… but that, on the contrary,…

Weekend Diversion: Bubbles on Ice (Synopsis)

“The only frozen heart around here is yours.” -Anna, to Hans, from Frozen When something’s difficult, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s beautiful. Have a listen to Eilen Jewell‘s haunting and memorable song, Fourth Degree. Next, before you curse the bitter cold yet again, particularly those of you suffering from far below average temperatures, consider…

“In this land of ours, there are many great pits. But none more bottomless than the bottomless pit. Which, as you can see here, is bottomless.” -Grunkle Stan, Gravity Falls After another week of fun-filled stories about the Universe here at Starts With A Bang, it’s time to take a look back at everything we’ve said,…

“It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.” -Albert Einstein In physics, we’re always on that quest for the next frontier: the next order of magnitude higher in energy, the next order of magnitude closer…

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.” -Edna St. Vincent Millay It’s the ultimate dream of many children with time on their hands and their first leisurely attempt at digging: to go clear through the…

“What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.” -Theodore Roethke In math, if you prove a theorem, that theorem is as good as gold. But in physics, a theorem may or may not be 100% valid. It depends, for example, on whether your “proof” describes all the relevant phenomena at play in your system.…

Observing Night (Synopsis)

“For my confirmation, I didn’t get a watch and my first pair of long pants, like most Lutheran boys. I got a telescope. My mother thought it would make the best gift.” -Wernher von Braun A telescope is only as good, mind you, as the amount of time you spend looking through it. And for…

“In the year 1456 … a Comet was seen passing Retrograde between the Earth and the sun… Hence I dare venture to foretell, that it will return again in the year 1758.” -Edmond Halley When ESA’s Rosetta mission “caught” its target, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August, 2014, one of its main science goals was to watch…

“I’ve done the calculation and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not.” -Fran Lebowitz It’s a thought that’s occurred to almost everyone at some point or another: what each of us would do if we happened to hit the lottery Jackpot. Have a listen to Camper Van Beethoven sing about…