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.

“If somebody’s going to pay money to come see you perform, then it should be something to see.” -Michael Trent The past two weeks at Starts With A Bang have been awesome for all we’ve covered, even with a (brief) vacation on my part thrown in there. (Don’t worry, you’ll get the best of it this weekend!) Here’s…

“It’s hard to build models of inflation that don’t lead to a multiverse. It’s not impossible, so I think there’s still certainly research that needs to be done. But most models of inflation do lead to a multiverse, and evidence for inflation will be pushing us in the direction of taking [the idea of a]…

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” –Mark Twain You probably think you know the eight planets pretty well, don’t you? Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, in order, with the four rocky inner worlds circumscribed by the four gas…

Solar System Answers (Synopsis)

“Put two ships in the open sea, without wind or tide, and, at last, they will come together. Throw two planets into space, and they will fall one on the other. Place two enemies in the midst of a crowd, and they will inevitably meet; it is a fatality, a question of time; that is…

“Were the succession of stars endless, then the background of the sky would present us a uniform luminosity, like that displayed by the Galaxy-since there could be absolutely no point, in all that background, at which would not exist a star.” -Edgar Allan Poe The master of the macabre, little known to most, was actually…

“Revolutions are something you see only in retrospect.” –Alan Greenspan If there’s one thing you can be certain of when it comes to the fundamental, scientific truths of our Universe, it’s this: someday, in the not too distant future, those truths will be superseded by more fundamental ones. And even those, quite likely, won’t be…

“Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.” –Summer of 4 ft. 2; The Simpsons There are few things as closely associated with American independence as our willingness and eagerness to celebrate with fiery explosions. I refer, of course, to the unique spectacle of fireworks, first developed nearly a…

How to soar on Venus (Synopsis)

“I remember as a kid having a balloon and accidentally letting the string go and watching it just float off and into the sky until it disappeared. And there’s something about that, even, that feels very much like what life is, you know, that it’s fleeting, and it’s temporal.” –Pete Docter So, you want to…

There’s something puzzling about black holes, if you stop to consider it. On the one hand, they’re objects so massive and dense — compacted into such a small region of space — that nothing can escape from it, not even light. That’s the definition of a black hole, and why “black” is in the name.…

“Now, Venus is an extremely hostile environment, and as such presents a lot of challenges for a science fiction author who wants to create life there. However, as I began to research it more thoroughly, I found myself intrigued by the possibilities the world offers.” –Sarah Zettel Of all the worlds in our Solar System,…