professor
Frederik Paerels

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Apr 2021

One of the easier classes I've taken in college. I rarely went to lecture (the few times I did I encountered a professor who was always happy to repeat things more than once if people weren't getting it), and the home works were still doable if you know high school algebra. While I was super nervous about it as a liberal arts major, I chuckle to myself in retrospect. Weekly problem sets take about an hour or two. The midterm/final was exactly like doing a problem set, and he gave us a week to do each. I'll admit that I would have been more stressed out if I had to take it in person without the ability to google formulas. Midterm Mean -- 99 Final Mean -- 88 He's super sweet, interesting, and easy. This man deserves a gold star

Jan 2021

Paerels is the best. He's devoted to making sure that students actually learn and understand something and he's not out there trying to trick them and deduct points. All HWs and tests are very doable even with fragmentary knowledge of high school math.

May 2019

Super chill class. Interesting lectures. Easy Homeworks and Exams.

Dec 2018

Frits is an overall good guy. He'll answer any question you have, is lenient on homework, and isn't stuck up. However, there are negatives to him that sometimes overshadow the good. He'll answer a question for 30 minutes of the class instead of actually lecturing about the class. This is good for a lecture or two, but he'll do it consistently, which means we'll get behind and not touch on some stuff on the syllabus. This, as well as his habit to go on tangents, gets progressively worse in the beginning and end of the semester. This is especially detrimental if you want to major in astrophysics, as you'll miss some important topics. Another negative is that sometimes he makes weird noises in class, but that's just nit-picking. Besides this, when he actually teaches about the subjects on the syllabus, he does a pretty good job. He'll make sure you understand and makes it easy for everyone to understand. His workload is also pretty easy and makes you think outside the box at the same time.

Jan 2015

If you're interested, at ALL, in astronomy or astrophysics - Frits is your man. Professor Paerels brought everything in this class down to a very, very, very digestible level. At times, it seemed like a lot of his lectures were oversimplified (and sometimes this was true), but at the end of the day he made sure everyone had a functional knowledge of the astrophysical topics at hand. And if you had any astronomy related question - it didn't have to be related to the coursework - he was always ready to talk it out. Sometimes, half a lecture would just go by in question-and-answer sessions with Frits. That got annoying at times, but it's also a testament to how well he can take high-level astro concepts and bring them down to a first-year undergraduate level. As for this class specifically, it was pretty easy. The problem sets are designed to walk you through each step with very minimal math required between each part - it was a little simplistic at times, but hey, it definitely made sure everyone was working towards the right thing. Additionally, he really emphasized understanding the physical meaning of results we obtained by calculation - "what does this number mean in the real world?" We had a midterm and final. The midterm was in-class and was open-everything (as such, it was slightly more difficult than the PSets or the final; this was the only graded portion of the class in which I lost points). The final was take home and basically just another PSet. This was a pretty fun class and I'd definitely take another class with Frits if I had the chance.

Nov 2011

Fritz is probably one of the best professors anyone potentially interested in astronomy/astrophysics/physics can meet. The class would often be about answering our questions about the universe whether related to the current material or not (make sure to ask him about the expansion of the universe to see the face he makes,) and felt more like a professional level class then any other intro class I have ever taken. The hw's guide you through themselves and are fairly easy, yet you actually get to figure out mathematically amazing processes and relations about stars. These derivations only exist in old papers and so it is hard/impossible to look them up, but the question asks you step by step what to do. The midterm was take home and more like a slightly more challenging pset then a midterm. We figured out the approximately how close protons get to each other in the core of mainsequence stars through some simplifying assumptions. Though the class does require knowledge of basic calculus, and is definitely not for those who are not interested in science.

Jun 2010

To any BC student looking to fulfill the math requirement: Take. This. Class. Yes, it's a ton of math that seems insanely overwhelming to those of us who can barely multiply, but Frits is *so* nice and *so* helpful, that you'll never worry about asking for help. More importantly, his midterm and final are completely open note, meaning that as long as you organize your notes and problem sets before the exam, you're likely to find the answers to the questions right in your notebook. No need to spend hours studying the night before! Seriously...take this class. You'll reduce your stress level, and you'll actually learn something!

May 2010

Frits is great! He is willing to help you with anything all you have to do is ask. He's easy going and approachable and not a stuck up asshole like some other professors are across both schools. He views his students as people far more then some other professors. I felt like I was respected and my lack of math knowledged and struggling was taken into consideration. He is a wonderful person and its been a pleasure having him as a professor! Please be advised if you are not good in MATH do NOT take this class. Despite how easy it may seem the concepts involve math that can be challenging.

Dec 2006

Frits Paerels led a really easy and relaxed Frontiers of Science discussion section. Yes, most people will find this class incredibly boring but I personally didn't find it that bad. After all, discussion is only once a week and if you pay attention during lecture you will learn something no matter how good you already are at science. Anyway, Frits is an extremely kind, helpful man who assigned little homework and was extremely generous with grading. However, his discussion section is not particularly informative and I never really felt that the lectures were significantly clearer after going through discussion (this may be because the lectures are already quite clear).

Apr 2006

Frits is a really cute guy, and the course is easy--it is a good class for anyone who wants to get a quick, easy background is some major topics in astronomy. Frits is also very helpful and approachable, the only thing is he speaks a little quietly, so make sure to sit in the front!

Apr 2005

I don't know what the past reviewer is talking about. This class is made for non-math people. I got a 1 (1!) on the Calculus BC exam, did not study for the midterm or finals, and came out with an A. Fritz is great person and always willing to help out if you do run into any math-related difficuly. All and all a great way to get rid of one semester of the science requirement with little effort.

Jan 2005

Ok, Fritz is a really nice guy. Given. The subject itself, if your not a math person STAY AWAY. If your looking for an easy course STAY AWAY. Although hes a generous grader, his lectures leave alot to be desired. He has a low voice and a very indirect, vague way of explaining material.However, if math is your thing, formulas, planetary data, all that relativity mumbo jumbo, go for it. Paerels is really cool.

Jan 2005

Fritz rules.... He's a good guy who wants you to succeed and get a good grade in the class. The problem sets can be hard, and you don't get much in the way of partial credit but he drops the lowest so it'll all work out in the end. Some lectures are interesing, some are not but all are optional no reason to go every week just drop in to make sure you're not too lost.

Jan 2005

This class seems to have something for everyone. If you're just filling the requirement, you can download the lectures online and get by fine. But if you become interested in the subject, as I did, it can be a really great class.

Jan 2005

I highly recommend taking any class with fritz! He really knows what heÂ’s talking about, (if you bother attending the lectures). His lectures are available on courseworks, and skimming through them once prepares you for the problem sets and tests. I wouldnÂ’t recommend closely studying the textbook. You should get an A without working too hard if you have a basic knowledge of physics. There is no curve on the tests but they are easy and entirely open everything: notebook, textbook, even computer! He drops one of the five problem sets, but if you go to him or any of the TAs for help they will practically do the problems for you. Definitely take this class to get out of a science requirement. Fritz is the sweetest teacher and a great guy!

Dec 2004

Fritz couldn't be any nicer! He is a wonderful person, but his class is beyond boring! I have to admit most of the class is there simply to fulfil their science requirement, but he does not teach this class as if it is an introductory one. The text of the book and his lectures have nothing to do with what the problem sets or midterm, and im assuming final will be about. In short, very nice guy, but not so interesting as a teacher! (most days about 1/4 of the class shows up to his lectures)

Nov 2004

this class is absolutely perfect for non science maors who want to get a fairly easy A-- sadly, i really have not learned anything, bc you really dont need to go to class (at any given time, only about 1/4 of the clas shpows up)- the problems sets are not easy, but you work in a gorup-- and you can go to him anytime and hell basically give you the answers-- hes awesome- he wants alll the students to do well, so he'll help you out as best he can (also on the midterm! which was open book, open notes, open anything)

Jan 2004

I cant say enough good things about Frits. His lectures are very interesting, and he is the nicest guy ever. He is always willing to help you out with a problem you are having trouble with, and will spend hours helping you out if you need it. He cares more about you learning the concepts and using your brain than memorizing equations.

May 2003

frits is my main man. for non-science majors who wanna hear about cool astronomy stuff, or math/science people who want and unbelievably easy A, i highly recomend frits's these classes. class is really fun, i went even though i didn't really have to. frits is a cool, guy, he tells you about his own research projects, which are really interesting, and is always eager to chitchat outside of class about astronomy or anything. he curved stuff so that it was impossible to get below a B, so even the people who weren't strong in science did well.

Jan 2003

I LOVE FRITS!!!!! He is such an awesome professor and one of the best professors I have had at Columbia University. He is an excellent lecturer and often while discussing a theory, he usually tells interesting facts related to either how the scientist discovered a theory or present experiments occuring. I always looked forward to his lectures and barely missed any classes. He is very friendly and I enjoyed speaking to him during office hours. Every students who I know that has taken Frits absolutely loves him.