John Couch Adams

AdamsAdams, John CouchJ. C. AdamsCouch AdamsJ C AdamsJohn AdamsJohn Couch Adams Astronomer
John Couch Adams (5 June 1819 – 21 January 1892) was a British mathematician and astronomer.wikipedia
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Neptune

NeptunianAtmosphere of NeptuneNeptune-mass
His most famous achievement was predicting the existence and position of Neptune, using only mathematics.
The position of Neptune was subsequently calculated from Bouvard's observations, independently, by John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier after his death.

Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society

Gold MedalGold Medal for AstrophysicsGold Medal from the Royal Society
He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1866.
This caused a problem when Neptune was discovered in 1846, because many felt an award should jointly be made to John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier.

Discovery of Neptune

apparent discrepanciescontroversial rolediscovered that very night
Le Verrier would send his coordinates to Berlin Observatory astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle, who confirmed the existence of the planet on 23 September 1846, finding it within 1° of Le Verrier's predicted location (there was, and to some extent still is, some controversy over the apportionment of credit for the discovery; see Discovery of Neptune).
In 1845, astronomers Urbain Le Verrier in Paris and John Couch Adams in Cambridge separately began calculations to determine the nature and position of such a planet.

Uranus

Uranian34 TauriMagnetosphere of Uranus
The calculations were made to explain discrepancies with Uranus's orbit and the laws of Kepler and Newton. In 1821, Alexis Bouvard had published astronomical tables of the orbit of Uranus, making predictions of future positions based on Newton's laws of motion and gravitation.
With time, discrepancies began to appear between the predicted and observed orbits, and in 1841, John Couch Adams first proposed that the differences might be due to the gravitational tug of an unseen planet.

1996 Adams

Neptune's outermost known ring and the asteroid 1996 Adams are also named after him.
It was later named after mathematician John Couch Adams.

Rings of Neptune

Neptune's ringsAdams ringring of Neptune
Neptune's outermost known ring and the asteroid 1996 Adams are also named after him.
Neptune's rings are named after astronomers who contributed important work on the planet: Galle, Le Verrier, Lassell, Arago, and Adams.

William Grylls Adams

William G Adams
The family were devout Wesleyans who enjoyed music and among John's brothers, Thomas became a missionary, George a farmer, and William Grylls Adams, professor of natural philosophy and astronomy at King's College London.
The astronomer John Couch Adams (1819–1892) was his older brother.

Adams Prize

Adams Essay Prize
The Adams Prize, presented by the University of Cambridge, commemorates his prediction of the position of Neptune.
The prize is named after the mathematician John Couch Adams.

Urbain Le Verrier

Le VerrierLeverrierUrbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier
At the same time, but unknown to each other, the same calculations were made by Urbain Le Verrier.
At the same time, but unknown to Le Verrier, similar calculations were made by John Couch Adams in England.

Laneast

LanneystLidcott Mine
He was born in Laneast, near Launceston, Cornwall, and died in Cambridge.
Laneast was the birthplace of John Couch Adams, the mathematician and astronomer who discovered Neptune and of William Grylls Adams, physicist who was professor of Natural Philosophy at King's College, London.

James Challis

Challis, JamesProfessor Challis
Apparently, Adams communicated his work to James Challis, director of the Cambridge Observatory, in mid-September 1845, but there is some controversy as to how.
As examiner for the Smith's prize, he appraised the early work of G. G. Stokes, Arthur Cayley, John Couch Adams, William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin), Peter Guthrie Tait and James Clerk Maxwell.

Lowndean Professor of Astronomy and Geometry

Lowndean Professor of AstronomyLowndean ProfessorLowndean Professorship
Adams was Lowndean Professor in the University of Cambridge from 1859 until his death.

International Meridian Conference

1884 prime meridian systemabandonedcontemporaneously
In 1884, he attended the International Meridian Conference as a delegate for Britain.

Alexis Bouvard

BouvardBouvard, Alexis
In 1821, Alexis Bouvard had published astronomical tables of the orbit of Uranus, making predictions of future positions based on Newton's laws of motion and gravitation.
The position of Neptune was subsequently calculated from Bouvard's observations, independently, by John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier after his death.

Tidal acceleration

tidal frictiontidal decelerationtidal heating
The unexplained drift is now known to be due to tidal acceleration.
However, in 1854, John Couch Adams caused the question to be re-opened by finding an error in Laplace's computations: it turned out that only about half of the Moon's apparent acceleration could be accounted for on Laplace's basis by the change in Earth's orbital eccentricity.

Walter Sydney Adams

Walter S. AdamsW. S. AdamsWalter Adams
A crater on the Moon is jointly named after him, Walter Sydney Adams and Charles Hitchcock Adams.

George Biddell Airy

George AiryAirySir George Biddell Airy
On 21 October 1845, Adams, returning from a Cornwall vacation, without appointment, twice called on Astronomer Royal George Biddell Airy in Greenwich.
Aware that Cambridge Astronomer John Couch Adams had suggested that he had made similar predictions, on 9 July Airy entreated James Challis to undertake a systematic search in the hope of securing the triumph of discovery for Britain.

Senior Wrangler (University of Cambridge)

Senior WranglerList of Wranglers of the University of CambridgeSecond Wrangler
In October 1839 he entered as a sizar at St John's College, graduating B.A. in 1843 as senior wrangler and first Smith's prizewinner of his year.

Cambridge Observatory

Observatory
Apparently, Adams communicated his work to James Challis, director of the Cambridge Observatory, in mid-September 1845, but there is some controversy as to how.

Ascension Parish Burial Ground

Parish of the Ascension Burial GroundAscension Parish Burial Ground, CambridgeAscension Parish
After a long illness, Adams died at Cambridge on 21 January 1892 and was buried near his home in St Giles Cemetery, now the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.
Among those buried here John Couch Adams, the astronomer, is unique in also having a memorial in Westminster Abbey.

St John's College, Cambridge

St. John's College, CambridgeSt John's CollegeSt. John's College
In October 1839 he entered as a sizar at St John's College, graduating B.A. in 1843 as senior wrangler and first Smith's prizewinner of his year.
There is also the famous Adams Prize in mathematics, named after the mathematician (and alumnus of St John's) John Couch Adams for his discovery of Neptune – it is an annual competition and can be awarded to any mathematician resident in the UK, with an age limit of under 40.

Lunar theory

Earth–Moon systemBabylonian lunar astronomyanomaly
Later, during the eighteenth century, Richard Dunthorne estimated the rate as +10" (arcseconds/century 2 ) in terms of the resulting difference in lunar longitude, an effect that became known as the secular acceleration of the Moon. Pierre-Simon Laplace had given an explanation in 1787 in terms of changes in the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit. He considered only the radial gravitational force on the Moon from the Sun and Earth but obtained close agreement with the historical record of observations.

Johann Karl Burckhardt

Burckhardt, Johann KarlJohann K. Burckhardt
In 1852, he published new and accurate tables of the Moon's parallax, which superseded Johann Karl Burckhardt's, and supplied corrections to the theories of Marie-Charles Damoiseau, Giovanni Antonio Amedeo Plana, and Philippe Gustave Doulcet.
They were officially used for computing the lunar ephemerides in the Nautical Almanac from 1821 to 1861 (but they were superseded in part, as from 1856, for computing the lunar horizontal parallax, by improved tables due to J C Adams).

Ralph Allan Sampson

Ralph Allen SampsonR. A. SampsonRalph Sampson
(He had been a student of astronomer John Couch Adams, and helped to edit and publish Part I of the second volume of Adams' papers in 1900).