Arend Poelarends

  • ASTR 302 - Stellar Astronomy
  • ASTR 305 - Astronomy
  • CORE 307 - Cosmology
  • PHYS 231 - Introductory Physics I
  • PHYS 232 - Introductory Physics II
  • PHYS 233 - Introduction to Relativity
  • PHYS 234 - Introduction to Quantum Physics
  • PHYS 294 - Physics and Engineering Seminar
  • PHYS 315 - Dakota Skies: Atmospheric Science and Astronomy in the Black Hills
  • PHYS 333 - Thermal Physics and Fluids
  • PHYS 353 - Introductory Optics
  • PHYS 366 - Particle Physics and Cosmology
  • PHYS 367 - Introduction to Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics


Dr. Poelarends research focuses on the evolution of stars, specifically those between eight to ten times as massive as the sun, i.e. the transition zone between stars that evolve into a white dwarf and stars that explode as a supernova and form a neutron star. He is particularly interested in the later stages of their evolution and uses computational modeling to study their pre-supernova evolution and chemical makeup. These stars could possibly be the birthplace of a significant fraction of the chemical elements in our galaxy (r-process elements), the origin of which we don’t yet know.

In addition to numerical/theoretical research, Dr. Poelarends also uses the new Wheaton telescope to carry out meaningful astronomical observations of objects that are out of reach of amateur telescopes and not important enough for professional telescopes. Currently, he focuses his efforts on the detection of exoplanets. This research resulted in a very fruitful observing campaign during the summer of 2012, in which one of his undergraduate students detected several exoplanets. Possible future areas of research might also be variable stars and asteroids.

The last area of interest is the intersection of science and faith. Dr. Poelarends is particularly interested in the role of worldview stories, and how these shape our identity, our view of God and this reality, and our ethics.