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.

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” –Joseph Campbell Making up some 85% of the mass in our Universe, dark matter is necessary to explain the motions of individual galaxies, the grouping and clustering of assemblies of galaxies, the large-scale structure of the Universe and more. But on a much closer-to-home level,…

“If you’ve seen one gamma-ray burst, you’ve seen one gamma-ray burst!” -Common quote among gamma-ray burst astronomers, emphasizing how little we know about them. When the first gravitational wave signal ever, GW150914, was directly detected, NASA’s Fermi GBM team shocked the world by announcing the detection of a high-energy burst of electromagnetic radiation. This was…

“It turned out that nature was very kind, and there appear to be many of these black holes in the Universe and we were lucky enough to see one.” -Dave Reitze, executive director of LIGO On September 14th, 2015, just days after turning on, the twin Advanced LIGO detectors detected the first gravitational wave signature:…

“In order for the light to shine so brightly the darkness must be present.” -Francis Bacon Recently, a team of international researchers has assembled the most comprehensive, up to date study on light pollution on Earth ever, including a full-Earth map of dark sky conditions or lack thereof. Its findings were disheartening but unsurprising, including…

“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. It’s a crazy world out there. Be curious.” –Stephen Hawking In the beginning, before even the Big Bang, all that we had was space and time, expanding rapidly according to…

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” -Muhammad Ali It’s been a very busy week here at Starts With A Bang — as most full weeks after vacation often are — but there’s a whole lot to look forward to and look back on this past week. Not…

“The new claim now is [a] boson with a mass of 16.7 MeV. But they don’t say anything about what went wrong in their previous claims and why we should not take those claims seriously.” -Oscar Naviliat Cuncic Everyone knows that the Standard Model of particle physics cannot be all there is. It does a…

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” -Mario Andretti One of the toughest things to wrap your mind around in the natural world is the idea of special relativity: the faster you move, the closer you get to the speed of light, the more difficult it becomes to increase your speed at…

“That what wrong with the media today. All they have is questions, questions, questions. They never have cookies.” -Cookie Monster There are lots of things to worry about in this Universe, including falling into a black hole. But unless you happen to fall directly into the event horizon, an incredibly small region of space for…

Why Dark Matter? (Synopsis)

“The Universe is made mostly of dark matter and dark energy, and we don’t know what either of them is.” -Saul Perlmutter When we look out at the Solar System, the Sun dominates in terms of both light and mass. Responsible for nearly 100% of the light and for 99.8% of the mass, it stands…