Ask Ethan

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“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” -Albert Einstein And yet, this is a very good reason! We need things to happen in stages: you can’t form human beings before you form planets (that would be bad); you can’t form stars before you form atoms (also bad); you can’t form…

“The single most powerful element of youth is our inability to know what’s impossible.” -Adam Braun “I’m going to be a star,” says every clump of matter in a molecular cloud, as it prepares to collapse under the tremendous pull of gravitation. But try as they might, only a small fraction of that gas and…

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” -Kurt Vonnegut The Universe is expanding and cooling, with all but a few of the closest galaxies receding from our view. In fact,…

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” -Jack Kerouac But how do you say goodbye to a galaxy that will…

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” -Wayne Dyer We all can think back to that moment that happened where we knew our lives would be forever different, right? To that one moment in our past where we suddenly knew what it was that we wanted to be,…

“We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposed to rob us of their companionship.” -James Harvey Robinson The Universe seems to be full of contradictions. On one hand, everywhere we look — in all directions and at all locations —…

“Time takes it all whether you want it to or not, time takes it all. Time bares it away, and in the end there is only darkness.” -Stephen King This story seems to come up every few months. Someone detects a possibly unexpected signal somewhere in the sky — normally correlated to the centers of…

“Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature.” -Michael Faraday And yet, it’s often incredibly difficult to use those laws of nature — even if they’re as simple as can be — to actually measure and quantitatively understand the Universe around us. Perhaps one of the most glaring…

“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” -Molière So if the Universe is expanding and cooling, what does that mean for the matter in it? Sure, it’s easy to visualize how radiation cools: it has a wavelength, space expands, and so as the wavelength gets stretched, the energy drops. But the…

“You can try to lie to yourself. You can try to tell yourself that you put in the time. But you know — and so do I.” -J.J. Watt Before there was the Universe we know and love today, there were many epochs and eras that came before, including one before there were galaxies and stars, one…