The bizarre orbital patterns of Uranus had for years been an nsolved astronomical puzzle. But when English mathematician John Crouch Adams came across them in 1841, he discovered that there was one very important piece missing: The gravitational pull of another planet-a planet no one had ever seen before. If Adams was able to see in the sky what he was able to deduce on paper, he would not only have discovered a new planet, but also a revolutionary ability to gain knowledge of worlds we cannot see through the power of mathematics.
Unfortunately for him, he had a rival. The French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier calculated the planet's position shortly after Adams-and the international race to spot Neptune began.
"Standage has dug out some fascinating new information, greatly enlivened by the stories of acrimonious fighting." (Sir Arthur C. Clarke)
"An enterprising book that deals adeptly with both the astronomical theory and the human passions." (The Economist)
"It's wonderful to realize that scientists of 150 years ago were chasing fame and glory just as they do today." (Cliff Stoll, author of The Cuckoo's Egg and High Tech Heretic)
"Extraordinary...colorful...both astronomy buffs and armchair explorers will revel in his tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is science writing at its best, broadening the mind even as it entertains." (The Oregonian)