Adam Frank's scientific research focuses on the birth of stars and death of stars. Most of his studies employ the equations of fluid dynamics (sometimes called "hydro" dynamics) applied to astrophysical environments such as clouds of interstellar gas that collapse under their own gravity to form new stars (and planetary systems). In many cases the systems of interest include strong magnetic fields. Thus, for example, his studies of hypersonic beams of plasma from dying solar-mass stars involve the study of astrophysical magneto-hydrodynamics (MHD). Since the governing equations for fluids are coupled and strongly non-linear, Frank uses supercomputers to simulate the evolution of his systems. In particular his research group has developed the AstroBEAR Adaptive Mesh Refinement code used for simulating MHD systems in various astrophysical contexts. The AstroBEAR code is available to the public and is being used by a number of other research groups around the world. Recently, Frank has begun studies of planetary atmospheres and habitability in the context of astrobiology.
In his writing for broader audiences, Frank is interested in the intersection between science and other aspects of human culture. The relationship between science and the human sense of spirituality or "sacredness" as defined by scholars such as Mircea Eliade and William James represents one domain of his work. Issues related to science, technology and the human future—particularly in light of climate change—represents another dimension of his interests. Ongoing studies, both scientific and philosophical into the nature of consciousness and its place in the physical world comprises another area Frank explores in his writing.