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.

Nature is not symmetric (Synopsis)

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” -Jean-Luc Picard We like to think of nature as beautiful, elegant and infallible. Yet our notions of what’s beautiful and elegant don’t always line up with what reality gives us. Take the notion of symmetry, for example:…

The Physics of Wormholes (Synopsis)

If you wanted to travel to the stars — and by that, I mean star systems beyond our own — you’d better be prepared to take your sweet time. Even at the speeds the Apollo astronauts traveled to the Moon, it would take millions of years to reach even the next nearest star beyond our own,…

Sure, the Big Bang is great. Going back to very early times, it tells us the Universe was in a hot, dense state, where even the possibility of forming neutral atoms was impossible due to the incredible energies of the Universe at that time. The patterns of fluctuations that are left over from that time…

“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.” -Neil Gaiman When you consider the short life of a star cluster — from a collapsing molecular cloud to a nebula rich in gas and dust to a…

“Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.” -Helen Keller Our tiny, little fingers make all the difference in the world, enabling us…

“There is no secret ingredient. It’s just you.” -Po, Kung-Fu Panda Each week at Starts With A Bang brings a fresh set of topics from around the Universe — near and far, large and small, concrete and abstract — for us to think about. This week has been a splendid example, with new articles on such diverse…

“I think one of the coolest things you can do is disappear for a while, because it gives you the chance to re-emerge.” -Josh Homme The Big Bang — and General Relativity in general — teaches us that in an expanding Universe, it’s the fabric of space itself that evolves over time. One of the…

“Not man enough? NOT MAN ENOUGH? I have three Y chromosomes, six adams apples, pecs on my abs and FISTS FOR NIPPLES!” -Testosteraur You’ve been waiting all year for a new Halloween photo (and profile photo) for me, and now that the big day has come, it’s time to unveil what I’ve chosen! For those…

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.” -Wayne Dyer We like to think of our Solar System as typical: a central star with a number of planets — some gas giants and some rocky worlds — in orbit around it. Yes, there’s some variety, with binary or trinary star systems…

“Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.” -Ovid With all that we know of astronomy, with the hundreds of billions of galaxies and hundreds of billions of stars in each that we know are there, it might surprise you to learn that the stars — for the most part…