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.

“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.” -T.H. Huxley It’s said that nothing lasts forever, and as far as we can tell, this is true. Every living thing that has ever lived will…

“But certainly the laser proved to be what I realized it was going to be. At that moment in my life I was too ignorant in business law to be able to do it right, and if I did it over again probably the same damn thing would happen.” -Gordon Gould, inventor of the LASER…

There are no free quarks (Synopsis)

“In physics, you don’t have to go around making trouble for yourself — nature does it for you.” -Frank Wilczek Freedom is an easy thing for almost all the particles we think of. Want a free photon? Just let it go in a place where there’s nothing that’s going to absorb it. A free electron? Just keep…

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die… It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands…

“I love the sea’s sounds and the way it reflects the sky. The colours that shimmer across its surface are unbelievable.” -John Dyer When you look up into the night sky, most of the fixed, non-stellar objects you see are faint, extended and diffuse. One of the things that surprises most skywatchers is what a galaxy…

“While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.” -Chinua Achebe When you think of charitable enterprises, you probably think of things like eradicating hunger, poverty, or disease of some sort. After all, that’s what most charity is: helping…

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Albert Einstein After a wide-ranging week here on Starts With A Bang, it’s only fair to take a look at what conversations this has sparked among all of you, and to jump in where there’s a good opportunity to add…

“A single day is enough to make us a little larger or, another time, a little smaller.” -Paul Klee As the time passes for us all, and we age, so too does everything else in the Universe. For an object like a black hole, it has the potential to form, grow or shrink as we move…

“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes But it isn’t just your mind that expands as time goes on and you increase your knowledge, but the entire Universe as well. General Relativity, as it turns out, doesn’t leave us with much of a…

Preparing for Alien Life (Synopsis)

“Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” -Paul Tillich One of the biggest questions in all of science is that of just how ubiquitous — or rare — life in the Universe is. With the sole exception…