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 layman always means, when he says “reality” that he is speaking of something self-evidently known; whereas to me it seems the most important and exceedingly difficult task of our time is to work on the construction of a new idea of reality.” -Wolfgang Pauli On the surface, it shouldn’t appear to make all that…

“You can spend too much time wondering which of identical twins is the more alike.” -Robert Brault When we think of the idea of “Earth’s twin,” we inevitably think of a planet like ours orbiting a star like ours at the same distance and speed. Most planets are not rocky and Earth-sized; most stars are not…

“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” -Johannes Kepler There are a lot of myths we have in our society about how the greatest of all scientific advances happened. We think about a lone genius, working outside the constraints of mainstream academia or mainstream…

“If something doesn’t reach you on a personal level, let it go. It’s hard enough dealing with everything that does.” -Judi Culbertson There are two types of electric charge: positive and negative. Like charges repel; opposite charges attract. In gravitation, though, there’s only one kind of gravitational charge, more commonly known as mass. And everything…

“I drive from Florida to California all the time, and it’s flat to me. I do not go up and down at a 360-degree angle, and all that stuff about gravity, have you looked outside Atlanta lately and seen all these buildings? You mean to tell me that China is under us? China is under…

“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 Wherever we look in the night sky, we don’t just observe the background sources of light shining our way, but also the effects of all the…

“What I find cool about being a banned author is this: I’m writing books that evoke a reaction, books that, if dropped in a lake, go down not with a whimper but a splash.” -Lauren Myracle It’s been an interesting week unlike any other. Sure, we’ve had our usual slew of daily, fascinating articles here…

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” -Theodore Roosevelt Energy is a fundamental property of nature, and yet it’s also one of the most purely understood phenomena from a conceptual point of view. Some objects have energy inherently, such as in…

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” -Carl Jung 13.8 billion years ago, the Universe as we know it came into existence. Today, the part we can observe is 46 billion light years…

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” -Carl Sagan The President of the United States just released his proposed budget for the next fiscal year, and there are some big losers in the scientific world. The EPA, the NIH,…