# The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Adams, John Couch

**ADAMS, John Couch**, English astronomer:
b. in Cornwall, 5 June 1819; d. 21 Jan. 1892. A
precocious mathematician, he became senior
wrangler at St John's College, Cambridge,
and mathematical tutor there. He discovered
in 1845, by calculation of the perturbations of
Uranus, that another planet must exist beyond
it, and fixed its position within two degrees;
but search for it not being made, Leverrier of
Paris independently made the same discovery
next year, and Galle of Berlin at once found
the planet (see Neptune. This mathematical
discovery of Neptune is justly regarded as one
of the greatest triumphs of science. To
commemorate it the University of Cambridge
founded in 1848 the Adams prize to be awarded
biennially for the best essay in astronomy, pure
mathematics or other branch of natural
philosophy. In 1851 he became president of
the Royal Astronomical Society; 1858-59
professor of mathematics at Aberdeen University;
1859-92 Lowndean professor of astronomy
and geometry at Cambridge, and in 1861
director of Cambridge Observatory. He was a
delegate to the International Prime Meridian
Conference at Washington 1884. He received
the Copley medal of the Royal Society in 1848.
His papers were edited by his brother, William
G. Adams, and R. A. Sampson (2 vols., I,
1896; II, 1901).