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 Two Faces of the Moon (Synopsis)

“When you’re finally up at the moon looking back on earth, all those differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend, and you’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” -Frank Borman, Apollo 8 You’ve…

“When someone demands blind obedience, you’d be a fool not to peek.” -Jim Fiebig But sometimes, it’s the wonders of the Universe that peek out at us from behind the intervening gas and dust that would block the light from them otherwise. This week’s deep-sky object for Messier Monday — Messier 9 — has the distinction of…

“Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.” -Bob Riley But we all have our heroes, for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps it will serve you to think of them as you listen to Dropkick Murphys singing about the Heroes From Our Past. But heroes exist…

“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.” -Edgar Allan Poe It’s been quite a fun-filled week for thinking about science and the Universe…

“One has to be an optimist; one has to hope that somewhere there’ll be new measurements to be made and that they will open up new vistas for us theorists to play with.” -Jim Peebles It was one of the most hotly contested questions for decades: we first expected and then found supermassive black holes at…

“Some prophecies are self-fulfilling But I’ve had to work for all of mine Better times will come to me, God willing Cause I can’t leave this world behind” -Josh Ritter Sure, many of us have dreams of leaving this world at one time or another. How wonderful it would be to leap from one giant…

“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” -Werner Heisenberg You might think there are few sacred quantities when it comes to matter: properties that are so fundamentally inherent that even the weirdness of quantum mechanics can’t touch them. But the quantum nature of the Universe will have none…

“Since stars appear to be suns, and suns, according to the common opinion, are bodies that serve to enlighten, warm, and sustain a system of planets, we may have an idea of the numberless globes that serve for the habitation of living creatures.” -William Herschel When you look up at the stars in the night…

“In a word, in the eyes of a giant, to whom our Suns were what our atoms are to us, the Milky Way would only look like a bubble of gas.” -Henri Poincaré When it comes to the wonders of the night sky, it seems like no matter what direction you look in, if you…

“Catch on fire and people will come for miles to see you burn.” -John Wesley There’s nothing quite like a fire on a temperate summer’s night, as John Fahey will play for you in his rendition of a Mississippi Fred McDowell classic, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning. But I bet you never thought of…