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.

Make America Informed Again (Synopsis)

“Whenever I found out anything remarkable, I have thought it my duty to put down my discovery on paper, so that all ingenious people might be informed thereof.” -Antonie van Leeuwenhoek We all have our biases, even if we ourselves are scientists. Yet if we want to make quality decisions about the world as we…

“From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’” -Edgar Mitchell, Apollo astronaut The full Moon of November 14th may be…

“For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity.” -Jean Dubuffet It’s been a week unlike any other I’ve seen since I started Starts With A Bang! all those years ago. There are a lot of people looking for a lot of explanations — some are excited, many…

“The whole edifice of modern physics is built up on the fundamental hypothesis of the atomic or molecular constitution of matter.” -C. V. Raman As far as humans have figured out, there are four fundamental forces in the Universe: the three of the Standard Model (electromagnetism, the weak and strong nuclear forces) and General Relativity,…

Supermoon: Fact Vs. Fiction (Synopsis)

“For most people, we often marvel at the beauty of a sunrise or the magnificence of a full moon, but it is impossible to fathom the magnitude of the universe that surrounds us.” -Richard H. Baker This coming Monday, November 14th, 2016, a full Moon will occur extremely close — within 90 minutes — of…

“The evidence at present available points strongly to the conclusion that the spirals are individual galaxies, or island universes, comparable with our own galaxy in dimension and in number of component units.” -Heber Curtis, 1920 In many different areas of life, we settle disagreements by popular vote. But in science, we know better; regardless of…

“Distinguishing the signal from the noise requires both scientific knowledge and self-knowledge.” -Nate Silver When you take a poll, you survey a number of people with an opinion about something in an attempt to predict the behavior of a much larger number of people. If you increase the number of people you poll, your poll…

“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” -Albert Einstein When we first began looking for exoplanets, we were expecting that other solar systems would be like ours: with inner, small, rocky worlds and outer, large gas giants. What we…

Quiz: Mars or Earth? (Synopsis)

“This is the plan. Get your ass to Mars, and go to the Hilton Hotel and flash the fake Brubaker I.D. at the front desk, that’s all there is to it.” -Hauser, Total Recall There are many locations on Earth that look like they’d be right at home on another world. While from space, it’s…

“Computers don’t make mistakes. What they do, they do on purpose.” -Dale Gribble, King of the Hill Alright, so I know you’re all impatient with the most burning Starts With A Bang! question of all: what was Ethan for Halloween? Well, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my avatar for the next 12 months:…