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John Couch Adams, British astronomer

John Couch Adams, British astronomer

C006/6188

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ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

John Couch Adams (1819-1892), British astronomer. As a mathematics undergraduate at Cambridge University, Adams began investigating irregularities in the orbit of Uranus, which he believed were caused by the presence of an undiscovered planet. Using mathematics alone, he accurately predicted the position of the new planet, now known as Neptune, although unfortunately for Adams the same calculations were made simultaneously by French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier. Consequently, credit for the discovery is difficult to attribute. Adams later conducted studies into the motion of the moon, terrestrial magnetism, and meteor showers. He became a professor at Cambridge, and President of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1851.

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