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 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…

When you think about it, it wasn’t all that long ago — just 50 years — that we didn’t know where our Universe came from. A hot, dense early state? A cyclical, swirling past? Or perhaps a time-independent one, where the Universe back then was not so different from our own today? All that changed in…

The Strangest Theory We Know Is True (Synopsis)

When it comes to physics, there sure are some strange theories — and even stranger phenomena — out there. The notion that particles don’t have fixed, intrinsic properties that are simultaneously measurable can only be described as weird, and the fact that you can add as much energy as you want to a particle but…

“The only thing I have learnt over the years is that if you enjoy your work and put in the best efforts, it will show. If you follow this process, things work out. But if you go chasing a formula, success will elude you.” -Mahesh Babu When you know something is there but you can’t…

“You can clean your sword as much as you want but the blood still stains it.” -Matsuro I can’t count for you the number of shirts I’ve ruined through spills and other stains. Have a listen to José González‘s song, Lovestain, while you consider what you’d do if you got a stain on your clothes. I’d…

“Everything comes at the right time, but if the right time is too late to be patient, go earlier before it becomes too late.” -Michael Bassey Johnson After another fun-and-science-filled week here on Starts With A Bang, where we’ve covered topics ranging from near-to-far, from historical to very modern, and from the beginnings of the Universe…

“I sometimes catch myself looking up at the Moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home. I look up at the moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?” -Tom Hanks Imagine,…