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.

“This suggests a robust biological response. These analyses support the interpretation that the Viking LR experiment did detect extant microbial life on Mars.” -Bianciardi, Miller, Straat and Levin On July 20, 1976, the Viking 1 lander touched down onto the Martian surface, followed just a few weeks later by Viking 2. On board both landers…

“…innumerable stars, thousands of double and multiple systems, clusters in one blaze with their tens of thousands of stars, and the nebulae amazing us by the strangeness of their forms and the incomprehensibility of their nature, till at last, from the limit of our senses, even these thin and airy phantoms vanish in the distance.”…

“We called the new quark the “charmed quark” because we were pleased, and fascinated by the symmetry it brought to the subnuclear world. “Charm” also means a “a magical device to avert evil,” and in 1970 it was realized that the old three quark theory ran into very serious problems.” -Sheldon Glashow It’s been another…

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal…

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” –Marcus Aurelius Let there be light! You’d think that would be enough: that you form stars in the Universe, you see those stars in the Universe, and that tells you about what’s out there. If only it were that simple.…

“Go, then. There are other worlds than these.” -Stephen King We think of the Universe as all there ever is, was or will be. But, in fact, there’s a limit to the most distant galaxies, stars, matter and radiation we can see. The hot Big Bang occurred a finite amount of time ago, and hence…

“If you’re puzzled by what dark energy is, you’re in good company.” -Saul Perlmutter The accelerated expansion of our Universe was one of the biggest surprise discoveries of all-time, and something that still lacks a good physical explanation. While many models of dark energy exist, it remains a completely phenomenological study: everything appears consistent with…

“There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would be a third. It’s a pretty substantial chunk of our solar system that’s still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.” -Mike Brown, on the possibility of Planet Nine When most people think of the Kuiper belt, they think…

“My eureka moment was in the dead of night, the early hours of the morning, on a cold, cold night, and my feet were so cold, they were aching. But when the result poured out of the charts, you just forget all that. You realize instantly how significant this is—what it is you’ve really landed…

“According to well-known electrodynamic laws, an electron moving in a magnetic field is acted upon by a force which runs perpendicular to the direction of motion of the electron and to the direction of the magnetic field, and whose magnitude is easily determined.” -Pieter Zeeman We’re now full-on into summer here at Starts With A Bang,…