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.

“In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word.” -Walt Whitman With the new result out from BICEP2, and even more firm evidence for cosmic inflation in place, many of you must be wondering what this means for the Multiverse. From our observable Universe, we can…

Should you get your PhD? (Synopsis)

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” -Benjamin Franklin It’s graduate school acceptance season, and many people out there have big decisions coming up. Some of you will have questions about where to go to graduate school, while some will have questions about whether to go to graduate school. For those of you in the latter…

“We’ll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one’s been.” -Tool A beautifully undisturbed, large spiral can be found right at the heart of the Virgo Cluster. Sure, looking at the heart of the Virgo Cluster on its own, you might totally overlook today’s Messier object. But you sure would…

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Eliot It’s been a remarkably exciting week for science, and you’ve had a lot to say about our new articles at the main Starts With A…

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” -Anais Nin You know the expression that you should believe half of what you see and none…

“The conclusions, the bizarre conclusions, emerge as though with the greatest of ease: the reasoning is unbreakable. It looks as though he had reached the conclusions by pure thought, unaided, without listening to the opinions of others. To a surprisingly large extent, that is precisely what he had done.” -C.P. Snow, on Einstein’s 1905 work…

“All our sweetest hours fly the fastest.” -Virgil The speed of light in a vacuum is the limit for massless particles, but massive ones are limited even further! Have you ever wondered about that? We can get particles in accelerators up to 99.9999999988% the speed of light, and the Universe makes ones that are even faster!…

All about Cosmic Inflation (Synopsis)

“I don’t think at this point we have any way of knowing where the laws of physics came from. We could hope that when we really understand the laws of physics that they will describe how the Universe came into existence.” -Alan Guth So, since Monday’s big story – about the BICEP2 collaboration announcing the discovery of…

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?” -Khalil Gibran When you think about globular clusters, you normally think about great collections of hundreds…

“Despite its name, the big bang theory is not really a theory of a bang at all. It is really only a theory of the aftermath of a bang.” -Alan Guth So, you’ve heard the big news by now, no doubt? Primordial B-modes have been detected in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background! But…