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.

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:…

“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.” -Frederick S. Perls, quoting Einstein The Universe we can see and access is certainly a big place. We see that it goes on for 46 billion light years in all directions, full of stars, galaxies, matter…

“The Universe is very, very big. It also loves a paradox. For example, it has some extremely strict rules. Rule number one: Nothing lasts forever. Not you or your family or your house or your planet or the sun. It is an absolute rule. Therefore when someone says that their love will never die, it…

“Cosmology is the study of the origin, evolution, and fate of objects in the observable universe. […] The key to the birth and evolution of such objects lies in the primordial ripples observed through light shining through from the early universe.” -Wayne Hu The Big Bang’s leftover glow — the cosmic microwave background (CMB) — is…

“The pressure to compete, the fear somebody else will make the splash first, creates a frenzied environment in which a blizzard of information is presented and serious questions may not be raised.” -Carl Bernstein Why is our Moon so unlike every other moon in the Solar System? No other moon is such a large percent…

“All we know so far is what doesn’t work.” -Richard Feynman The past month has seen a slew of papers out highlighting the tension between modified gravity and dark matter. Both recognize the same puzzles and problems with the Universe, and both ideas recognize that either one could be valid. In fact, if you look…

“Cassini is different — it’s a mission of enormous scope and is being conducted in grand style. It is much more sophisticated than Voyager, … I can’t say it’s got that flavor of romance, though. Voyager was very romantic. Cassini is spectacular.” -Carolyn Porco It was a big enough mystery when Saturn’s hexagon was first…

“Weightlessness was unbelievable. It’s physical euphoria: Nothing about you has any weight. You don’t realize that you are weighed down all the time by yourself, and your organs, and your head. Your arms weigh down your shoulders. In space simulation, you get to fly like Superman! You’re hanging in the air! It’s the coolest thing.”…

“This isn’t my life anymore, Mulder. I’m done chasing monsters in the dark.” -Dana Scully, X-files One of the most exciting things a scientist can experience is when they look at a sample of data, expecting to not see a particular exciting effect, and yet, something’s there. Immediately, you have to check yourself: what are…