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.

“By preventing dangerous asteroid strikes, we can save millions of people, or even our entire species. And, as human beings, we can take responsibility for preserving this amazing evolutionary experiment of which we and all life on Earth are a part.” -Rusty Schweickart Asteroid strikes are among the most destructive natural disasters to ever impact…

“Put two ships in the open sea, without wind or tide, and, at last, they will come together. Throw two planets into space, and they will fall one on the other. Place two enemies in the midst of a crowd, and they will inevitably meet; it is a fatality, a question of time; that is…

“Sometimes I even now feel like a stranger in my country. But I knew there would be problems because I had seen the world… Freedom is good, but it is not easy.” -Katarina Witt Yes, as always, as another week goes by at Starts With A Bang! there have been a huge number of great stories we’ve…

“For the first time, astronomers have outlined and named the network of galaxies that includes the Milky Way, adding a line to our cosmic address and further defining our place in the universe.” -Douglas Quenqua There’s been a longstanding puzzle in astrophysics that’s finally coming to a head. For nearly a century, we’ve known that…

“The dance between darkness and light will always remain — the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.” -C. JoyBell C. What do you do when you discover a moon around Saturn that’s only visible during half of…

“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” -Werner Heisenberg Empty space, according to quantum mechanics, isn’t exactly empty. Take away all the matter, radiation and anything else you can have populating your space, and you’ll still have some amount of energy in there: the zero-point energy of…

“If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” -H. James Harrington If you want to observe the night sky, it’s not quite as simple as pointing your telescope and collecting photons. You have to calibrate your…

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” -Ernest Rutherford It’s a difficult thing to do, to go against your gut instinct. It’s even more difficult when your gut is backed up by the facts you’ve found doing your own independent research. But the greatest hallmark of science isn’t digging…

“The Beta Pic animation looked so cool that we’ve wanted to do more. We wanted to make one that was even more impactful for the audience and could begin to show what one of these systems looks like.” -Jason Wang In 2004, humanity was able to take the first direct image of an exoplanet around…

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” -Neil Gaiman Another week, another slew of…