Ethan Siegel, Big Think

Ethan Siegel

Big Think

Portland, OR, United States

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Recent articles by Ethan:

Ask Ethan: How do we know the universe is 13.8 billion years old?

It's been precisely 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang occurred. Here's how we know the age of the universe. → Read More

Sparks fly when you microwave grapes: here’s the science of why

Put two grapes close together in a microwave and you'll get an electrifying result, all because of the physics of plasmas. → Read More

A giant solar flare is inevitable, and humanity is completely unprepared

For the past 150+ years, the biggest solar flares and coronal mass ejections have all missed us. At some point, our good luck will run out. → Read More

94% of the universe’s galaxies are permanently beyond our reach

Even if we left today, at the speed of light, we'd never catch up to these unreachable galaxies as dark energy expands the universe. → Read More

Surprise: the Big Bang isn’t the beginning of the universe anymore

We used to think the Big Bang meant the universe began from a singularity. Nearly 100 years later, we're not so sure. → Read More

Can a giant thruster on the South Pole change Earth's orbit?

Migrating the Earth to a safer orbit might be the only way to preserve our planet after all the ice melts. → Read More

Ask Ethan: Do we know why the Big Bang really happened?

Many contrarians dispute that cosmic inflation occurred. The evidence says otherwise, and proves the contrarians wrong. → Read More

After 350 years, astronomers still can’t explain the solar system’s strangest moon

Saturn's Iapetus, discovered way back in 1671, has three bizarre features that science still can't fully explain. → Read More

The science of how Earth will meet its ultimate end

The last ~4 billion years have been an incredibly successful, unbroken run for life on Earth. The ultimate end won't be nearly so bright. → Read More

Ask Ethan: Will dark energy cause the Big Bang to disappear?

With the universe's expansion now accelerating, the Big Bang's key evidence will someday disappear. Dark energy is an information killer. → Read More

Planet found orbiting three stars all at once

Move over, Tattooine, and instead feast your eyes on GW Orionis, where the largest dust rings ever seen settle an ancient exoplanet debate. → Read More

Can we see farther back in space than we can in time?

The expanding universe lets us see back 46.1 billion light years, despite the fact that the the universe is only 13.8 billion years young. → Read More

Neptune’s discovery 175 years ago was our first success finding dark matter

Urbain le Verrier's 1846 prediction pinpointed our 8th planet's existence before it was ever detected: our first dark matter success. → Read More

Ask Ethan: Are we the children of neutron stars and black holes?

Prior stars lived and died, becoming stellar remnants, to make our solar system possible. Are the corpses of our cosmic ancestors still here? → Read More

Dark energy might be neither particle nor field

Everything else in the universe is either a particle or field. Dark energy behaves as neither and may be a property inherent to space itself. → Read More

How did Mars get its "impossible" moons, Phobos and Deimos?

Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos, appear to be "impossible," in that there is no good explanation for how they got there. → Read More

Could fundamental physical constants not be constant across space and time?

We assume that physical constants do not change from time to time or location to location. Measurements aimed at calculating the fine-structure constant, however, challenge this assumption. A big puzzle remains unsolved to this day: why do quasars appear to show small but significant differences in the inferred value of the fine-structure constant? → Read More

How A New Mission To Phobos Could Rewrite The History Of Mars

Theoretically, we know what happened on the red planet. Here's how we'll find out whether we're right. → Read More

5 Ways That Dark Energy Might Not Determine The Fate Of Our Universe

It could evolve, strengthen, decay, or not be alone. → Read More

How The Big Bang Failed To Set The Universe Up For The Emergence Of Life

The raw ingredients just weren't there. Thankfully, their predecessors were. → Read More