Adams, John Couch
BornLidcott near Launceston, Cornwall, England, 5 June 1819
DiedCambridge, England, 21 January 1892
John Adams is best remembered for his calculations concerning the location and discovery of Neptune. Born a farmer’s son, Adams showed a precocious mathematical talent and sat for the entrance at Saint John’s College, Cambridge, in 1839, winning a sizarship that partially paid his college expenses. He later married Eliza Bruce.
In July 1841, by the end of his first year, Adams began plans to investigate the irregular motions of Uranus to see if they would point to some undiscovered planet. In 1843, he finished as senior wrangler and the first Smith’s prizeman, the top mathematician of his year.
By October 1843, Adams had reached a preliminary solution to the Uranus problem. In February 1844, James Challis, director of the Cambridge Observatory, brought Adams the results of Uranus observations sent from George Airy, the Astronomer Royal, thereby providing Adams with the best data...
- Adams, John (1896–1900). The Scientific Papers of John Couch Adams. 2 Vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (volume 1 was edited by his youngest brother, professor William Grylls Adams, and contains a biographical sketch by Dr. J. W. L. Glaisher. This volume features Adams’s published writings. volume 2 includes unpublished manuscripts, edited by W. Grylls Adams and R. A. Sampson.)Google Scholar
- Baum, Richard and William Sheehan (1997). In Search of Planet Vulcan. New York: Plenum Press, Chaps. 6–8.Google Scholar
- Grosser, Morton (1962). The Discovery of Neptune. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Moore, Patrick (1996). The Planet Neptune: An Historical Survey before Voyager, 2nd ed. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
- Standage, Tom (2000). The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry and the Pioneers of Planet Hunting. New York: Walker.Google Scholar