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.

“Even when Darwin’s teaching first made its appearance, it became clear at once that its scientific, materialist core, its teaching concerning the evolution of living nature, was antagonistic to the idealism that reigned in biology.” -Trofim Lysenko We love having debates when there’s a disagreement. When there are multiple competing explanations for an effect, multiple…

The slow dance that made you (Synopsis)

“It took less than an hour to make the atoms, a few hundred million years to make the stars and planets, but five billion years to make man!” -George Gamow But how was it that this happened? Sure, the Universe may have started off with hydrogen and helium alone, but when we look around at…

“But even when the moon looks like it’s waning…it’s actually never changing shape. Don’t ever forget that.” -Ai Yazawa You’ve seen the iconic crescent, quarter, gibbous and full phases for yourself, and probably even an eclipse or two. For millennia, the Moon has fascinated, delighted and mystified observers of the skies. Less than 50 years…

“There is a concept that is the corrupter and destroyer of all others. I speak not of Evil, whose limited empire is that of ethics; I speak of the infinite.” -Jorge Luis Borges Have you ever been so mad at someone that you needed revenge? That you needed to take something delightful and use it for…

“You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.” -Eckhart Tolle We’re really hitting our stride for 2015 here at Starts With A Bang, and I’m so pleased you shared this past week with me. If you missed anything, here’s…

“The single most powerful element of youth is our inability to know what’s impossible.” -Adam Braun “I’m going to be a star,” says every clump of matter in a molecular cloud, as it prepares to collapse under the tremendous pull of gravitation. But try as they might, only a small fraction of that gas and…

“And you may find yourself in another part of the world. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And you may ask yourself, ‘Well, how did I get here?’” -Talking Heads Well, imagine it’s happened: an apocalypse,…

Dark matter in galaxies: proven! (Synopsis)

“The discrepancy between what was expected and what has been observed has grown over the years, and we’re straining harder and harder to fill the gap.” -Jeremiah Ostriker If you look at the stars in a galaxy — and then at all the different wavelengths of light that there are — you’d think you can…

When we talk about dimensions, we’re used to thinking of three: something like length, width and depth, or x, y and z. But there’s a fourth dimension as well that’s of paramount importance for our Universe, otherwise everything would simply be static: time. Our motion through time as well as space is what allows things to…

Have you ever thought about what “nothing” truly is? We used to think about it in terms of simply removing all the particles from a given region of space, which is a pretty intuitive definition of nothing. But quantum physics is notorious for defying our intuition. When we take a look at this “empty” space,…