Portrait of Nathaniel Paust

Associate Professor of Astronomy

Hall of Science 372


Dr. Paust started teaching at Whitman in 2009. While his time has largely been spent developing and teaching new classes in the Astronomy department, he has also pursued a number of research projects with students that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. In his introductory classes, Paust strives to connect complex astronomical processes with experiences on Earth. Students gain an understanding of the consequences that the planet faces from rising carbon dioxide levels and the evolving Sun. His upper-level classes avoid the study of formalism and focus on experiments and observations to understand everything from galactic classification to advanced nuclear burning in stars. Paust’s research projects with students have included observing the 2017 solar eclipse, identifying two new star clusters at the edge of the Milky Way, revealing uncertainties in all currently-available stellar evolution models and tracing what will happen when the Sun eventually eats Mercury and Venus.  

Prior to his time at Whitman, Dr. Paust spent two and a half years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute using the Hubble Space Telescope to study the stellar mass functions of galactic globular clusters as part of the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys (HST/ACS) survey of Galactic Globular Clusters.

Dartmouth College

M.S. Astronomy
New Mexico State University

B.A. Physics-Astronomy 
Whitman College