In a career that spans forty-five years, Professor Frank H Shu has spurred fundamental changes in the existing paradigms of three different fields of astrophysics: galactic dynamics, stellar evolution, and the astrophysics of small bodies in the solar system.
Shu’s research career began auspiciously in 1964 with the publication, together with his adviser C C Lin, on the density-wave theory of spiral structure in disk galaxies. Although highly controversial at its inception, this theory has since gathered widespread observational support and computational elaboration. The philosophy that useful theories must be testable has informed all of his subsequent research. Shu has been at the forefront of theoretical developments, particularly with his group’s semi-analytical investigations of the nonlinear, non-ideal theory as applied to galactic shocks in the 1970s and resonantly forced analogues in Saturn’s rings in the 1980s.