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 status of the Universe: 2015 (Synopsis)

“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” -James A. Baldwin We’ve come a long way since we first started watching the night skies. Even just a century ago, we thought our Universe was governed by Newtonian gravity and consisted only of our Milky Way and the stars inside. In the past…

“I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.” -Arthur C. Clarke For the past three years, Kepler has been looking at 150,000 stars, searching for planetary transits. The science haul has been huge, but mostly larger planets close in to their parent stars. Nevertheless, a few…

Why do galaxies have black eyes? (Synopsis)

“With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.” -William Wordsworth You’ve seen the amazing photos of spiral galaxies, with the vast, sweeping arms, the massive, central bulges and the great underdense regions in between the arms. As you move farther…

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.” -Charles Dickens Just… go. I can’t even do it justice in a synopsis, or with 600 pixel image widths. This was the original. Go…

“This Administration has never really faced up to where we are going in space… As a result, NASA is both drifting and lobbying for bigger things — without being able to focus realistically on what it should be doing.” -White House staff assistant Clay Thomas Whitehead, February 1971 What should we be doing with respect to our…

“A physicist is just an atom’s way of looking at itself.” -Niels Bohr There’s a wonderful story that the Universe tells us about itself: the story of where everything in it came from, and how it came to be this way. From the perspective of a human being, there’s possibly no component of that as…

“Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.” -Oscar Wilde While the AAS meeting is about to start, I couldn’t resist sharing a song and a wonderful project with you this weekend. Have a listen to a song that talks about what it…

“Where are you going now, my love? Where will you be tomorrow? Will you bring me happiness? Will you bring me sorrow?” -Stephen Stills / Crosby, Stills & Nash We’ve made it! It’s the first Comments of the Week of the new year here at Starts With A Bang, and we’re doing our best to start it off…

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” -Jack Kerouac But how do you say goodbye to a galaxy that will…

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” -Rainer Maria Rilke Yes, it’s true, with 2015 upon us, the new year holds a number of wonderful new things. Not only for us, but for the Universe as well! Consider all the time that’s passed, leading up to today. Consider how far…