The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VIII. The Literature of Science

§ 8. John Couch Adams

John Couch Adams was another graduate of Cambridge, and spent all his life in that university. There are three important questions in theoretical astronomy, treated as a branch of pure mathematics, which are especially connected with his name. The first of these is his discovery, in 1846, of the planet Neptune, through the disturbance caused by it in the orbit of Uranus; this was made independently of, and a few months earlier than, the similar investigation by Leverrier. This finding of an unsuspected and unseen planet afforded a striking demonstration of the universality of gravitation, and excited widespread admiration. The second of these famous investigations is to be found in Adams’s discussion, published in 1855, of the secular acceleration of the moon’s mean motion—a difficult problem, involving heavy analytical work and elaborate historical enquiries. The third is his determination, in 1867, of the orbit of the Leonid shooting stars.