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.

“Comrades, this man has a nice smile, but he’s got iron teeth.” -Andrei A. Gromyko When you have a star, perhaps its most defining characteristic is that it fuses lighter elements into heavier ones, releasing energy. While all stars fuse hydrogen into helium, the more massive ones will undergo helium fusion, with the most massive…

“For although it is certainly true that quantitative measurements are of great importance, it is a grave error to suppose that the whole of experimental physics can be brought under this heading.” -Hendrik Casimir Ever since we first discovered that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, scientists have puzzles as to what’s causing it.…

“It’s becoming clear that in a sense the cosmos provides the only laboratory where sufficiently extreme conditions are ever achieved to test new ideas on particle physics. The energies in the Big Bang were far higher than we can ever achieve on Earth. So by looking at evidence for the Big Bang, and by studying…

“I go to the Natural History Museum and look at the cage of stuffed starlings there. But my favourite thing is the big blue whale. The scale of it is unbelievable, and makes you feel how insignificant you are as a human being.” -Arthur Darvill How good is your sense of scale? Humans are notoriously…

“Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson Last week, millions of people across the United States got to experience the awe and wonder of a total solar eclipse, many for the very first time. But in a puzzling event, astrophysicist and one…

“The hurricane flooded me out of a lot of memorabilia, but it can’t flood out the memories.” -Tom Dempsey As I write this, the gulf coast is currently being battered by Hurricane Harvey, with a few locations already having accumulated more than three feet of rainfall. This storm shows no signs of letting up anytime…

“The origin and evolution of life are connected in the most intimate way with the origin and evolution of the stars.” -Carl Sagan When it comes to dying stars, supernovae get all the press. They may be the largest and most massive stars to die, but hundreds of times more common are the planetary nebulae…

“It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” ―Galadriel, LOTR, J.R.R. Tolkien Well, we’ve been anticipating it for months (or years), but this is our very first time meeting up since the total solar eclipse here at Starts…

“Imagination makes us aware of limitless possibilities. How many of us haven’t pondered the concept of infinity or imagined the possibility of time travel? In one of her poems, Emily Bronte likens imagination to a constant companion, but I prefer to think of it as a built-in entertainment system.” -Alexandra Adornetto The dream of futuristic…

“North Korea has taught a great lesson to all the countries in the world, especially the rogue countries of dictatorships or whatever: if you don’t want to be invaded by America, get some nuclear weapons.” -Michael Moore Last year, North Korea claimed to have obtained the technology to create a nuclear fusion bomb: the most…