The Adams Prize is one of the most prestigious prizes awarded by the University of Cambridge. It is awarded each year by the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and St John's College to a UK-based mathematician for distinguished research in the Mathematical Sciences.
The prize is named after the mathematician John Couch Adams. It was endowed by members of St John's College and was approved by the senate of the university in 1848 to commemorate Adams' controversial role in the discovery of the planet Neptune. Originally open only to Cambridge graduates, the current stipulation is that the mathematician must reside in the UK and must be under forty years of age. Each year applications are invited from mathematicians who have worked in a specific area of mathematics. As of 2012[update] the Adams Prize is worth approximately £14,000. The prize is awarded in three parts. The first third is paid directly to the candidate; another third is paid to the candidate's institution to fund research expenses; and the final third is paid on publication of a survey paper in the winner's field in a major mathematics journal.
The prize has been awarded to many well known mathematicians, including James Clerk Maxwell and Sir William Hodge. The first time it was awarded to a female mathematician was in 2002 when it was awarded to Susan Howson, then a lecturer at the University of Nottingham for her work on number theory and elliptic curves.