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.

“I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.” -Charlotte Brontë Our exploration of the Universe, near…

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” –Dwight L. Moody When it comes to the farthest thing we can see in the Universe, that’s the Cosmic Microwave Background, or the…

“‎Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” –John Stuart Mill If there’s nothing else that science has to offer, it’s this elegant notion: that anyone, anywhere, at anytime, can investigate and uncover the mysteries and workings of the Universe simply by asking it…

Dark Matter: Giver of Life (Synopsis)

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” –Joseph Campbell When you think about dark matter, you probably think of a few things: how mass and gravity don’t appear to line up, how there isn’t enough normal matter to account for the motions we see on scales of galaxies and up, and how…

“We live in a world that has narrowed into a neighborhood before it has broadened into a brotherhood.” –Lyndon B. Johnson When you think of our own cosmic backyard — our planets, Sun, the nearby stars, and even the closest galaxies to us — you probably don’t think of them in the context of the…

“And no one showed us to the land And no one knows the where’s or why’s But something stirs and something tries And starts to climb towards the light” –Pink Floyd, Echoes It’s pretty difficult to imagine, but a little over 300 years ago, a supernova — a dying, ultramassive star — exploded, giving rise…

“The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.” –Grand Moff Tarkin Sure, the Death Star was the most fearsome battle station in the Universe, for a time. Capable of destroying a planet with a single blast from its (certainly antimatter-based)…

“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.” -Louis Pasteur Well, it’s been another doozy of a week here on Starts With A Bang, and we’ve run the gamut from the far future to the smallest theoretical scales, from Hubble to the highest energies. If you missed…

“Never erase your past. It shapes who you are today and will help you to be the person you’ll be tomorrow.” –Ziad K. Abdelnour But even moreso than the fact that we’re shaped by our past, the Universe itself — geometrically — is shaped by its history and composition. You might imagine all sorts of…

“Energy is liberated matter, matter is energy waiting to happen.” –Bill Bryson When it comes to the Universe, you might think that energy really is only limited by rarity: get enough particles accelerated by enough supermassive, super-energetic sources, and it’s only a matter of time (and flux) before you get one that reaches any arbitrary energy…