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.

“We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life.” -James Hansen Thanks to our position in space, the energy output of the Sun, and the right atmospheric conditions on Earth, we have temperatures conducive to liquid water on our planet.…

“The self-same atoms which, chaotically dispersed, made the nebula, now, jammed and temporarily caught in peculiar positions, form our brains; and the ‘evolution’ of brains, if understood, would be simply the account of how the atoms came to be so caught and jammed.” -William James When stars like our Sun run out of fuel, they…

“A long time ago people believed that the world is flat and the moon is made of green cheese. Some still do, to this day. The man on the moon is looking down and laughing.” -Vera Nazarian When people make claims that are patently untrue — like the Earth is flat — perhaps your knee-jerk…

Why Does E=mc^2? (Synopsis)

“Science is global. Einstein’s equation, E=mc^2, has to reach everywhere. Science is a beautiful gift to humanity, we should not distort it.” -A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Over 100 years ago, Einstein shook up the physics world with a number of groundbreaking discoveries: special relativity, brownian motion, the photoelectric effect, and his most famous equation, E = mc^2.…

“[The black hole] teaches us that space can be crumpled like a piece of paper into an infinitesimal dot, that time can be extinguished like a blown-out flame, and that the laws of physics that we regard as ‘sacred,’ as immutable, are anything but.” -John Wheeler Dark matter is one of the biggest mysteries in…

“By refocusing our space program on Mars for America’s future, we can restore the sense of wonder and adventure in space exploration that we knew in the summer of 1969. We won the moon race; now it’s time for us to live and work on Mars, first on its moons and then on its surface.”…

“Reality is what kicks back when you kick it. This is just what physicists do with their particle accelerators. We kick reality and feel it kick back. From the intensity and duration of thousands of those kicks over many years, we have formed a coherent theory of matter and forces, called the standard model, that…

“Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” -Franklin P. Jones It’s been such a busy time here at Starts With A Bang that we’re a day late bringing you last week’s recap! And we’ve got to get rocking on it, because there’s so much coming up to consider as well!…

“The first amazing fact about gravitation is that the ratio of inertial mass to gravitational mass is constant wherever we have checked it. The second amazing thing about gravitation is how weak it is.” -Richard Feynman One of the strangest, most novel predictions of Einstein’s relativity is that mass would not only curve space, but…

“When you get just a complete sense of blackness or void ahead of you, that somehow the future looks an impossible place to be, and the direction you are going seems to have no purpose, there is this word despair which is a very awful thing to feel.” -Stephen Fry Perhaps the most fundamental difference…