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.

Messier Monday: The Ultimate Trip (Synopsis)

“If you keep your eyes open enough, oh, the stuff you will learn. Oh, the most wonderful stuff.” -Dr. Seuss It’s been more than two years in the making; we started Messier Monday way back in October of 2012, and after 110 consecutive weeks, we finally arrived at our final entry last week. What better…

“Devote yourself, but do not lose who you are!” -Marvel vs. Capcom With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s officially the holiday season here in the USA (and in many other places across the world), and so it’s time to kick that off with a great holiday song by Calexico, Gift X-change, and to check out the fusion…

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson Every week brings a new set of challenges, but also a new opportunity to find not only…

“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” -Molière So if the Universe is expanding and cooling, what does that mean for the matter in it? Sure, it’s easy to visualize how radiation cools: it has a wavelength, space expands, and so as the wavelength gets stretched, the energy drops. But the…

“We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.” -George Bernard Shaw And despite all of that, when we pause…

“We… are what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.” -Jill Tarter But that doesn’t mean we can’t also look to the hydrogen itself, and use its information to learn about where other things may have come from! An extraordinary example…

Physics at the Universe’s Limits (Synopsis)

When you think about cosmology and the fundamental questions scientists are trying to address, you inevitably wind up thinking about dark matter, dark energy and black holes as the three biggest topics that shape our view of the Universe. But there are plenty of other aspects to this branch of science that deserve at least…

Dark Matter and the Origin of Life (Synopsis)

When you think of the origin of life, you probably think about the atoms coming together to make molecules, the molecules coming together to make self-replicating, information-encoded strands, and how all that took place here on Earth. But you might want to consider a different point of view! Instead, try thinking about the fact that,…

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” -William Shakespeare But in the case of Orion, it’s great because of not only how it was born, but where and when: recently, and so close to us! And that makes our views of not only the…

“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.”  -W. Somerset Maugham There are so many things out there in this world to marvel at, that it’s important to remember to appreciate all that’s out…