Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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NORTON, William Augustus, civil engineer, born in East Bloomfield, New York, 25 October, 1810; died in New Haven, Connecticut, 21 September, 1883. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1831, and his military duty included two years' service as assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at the military academy, with the exception of a few months during 1832, when he was engaged in the Black Hawk expedition, holding meanwhile the rank of 2d lieutenant in the 4th artillery. He resigned from the army on 30 September, 1833, to accept the professorship of natural philosophy and astronomy in the University of the city of New York. This chair he held until 1839, when he was called to a similar office in Delaware college, Newark, Delaware, and in 1849 he became president of that institution. In 1850 he accepted the professorship of natural philosophy and civil engineering in Brown, and in 1852 he was given the chair of civil engineering in the Sheffield scientific school of Yale, which he held until his death. His scientific work included researches in the domains of molecular physics, terrestrial magnetism, and astronomical physics, and appeared chiefly in the "American Journal of Science," or were read at the meetings of the American association for the advancement of science, or before the National academy of sciences. In 1842 he received the degree of A. M. from the University of Vermont. Professor Norton was a member of various scientific societies, and after 1873 of the National academy of sciences. Noah Porter said of him" "Norton was eminently a liberal student, and kept himself fully abreast of the speculations and science of the times." He published "An Elementary Treatise on Astronomy " (New York, 1839)and "First Book of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy" (1858).
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