Urbain Le Verrier

1811 (Saint-Lô, France) – 1877 (Paris)

Arago taught Le Verrier, and encouraged the mathematical research that led to his prediction of Neptune’s existence. Le Verrier wrote to Galle, who found the planet after an hour’s observation. Adams had reached the same mathematical conclusion earlier but without publishing the results; public controversy over who was first did not stop Le Verrier and Adams becoming good friends. Arago proposed the new planet be named ‘Leverrier’ (sic) before ‘Neptune’ prevailed, Airy having done what he could to dissuade Le Verrier from the idea, which was in fact his own. Babbage was among Le Verrier’s correspondents.