**William Emerson** published textbooks which popularised the work of Isaac Newton.

- Dudley Emerson was skilled in mathematics and his school was successful.
- William also studied languages with the local curate who lived in Dudley's house.
- At this stage William had little interest in learning, spending many hours looking for birds' nests.
- To complete his education, Dudley sent William to a school in Newcastle and then to one in York.
- This, however, did not prove successful for although Emerson was a highly intelligent and learned man, he had no patience as a teacher and frequently lost his temper with pupils who were unable to benefit from his high-powered teaching.
- He treated his scruffy son-in-law with contempt and refused to pay, so Emerson loaded all his wife's clothes in a barrow and wheeled it round to the parsonage, saying he refused "to be beholden to such a fellow for a single rag".
- Vulgar language was typical of Emerson, as was the coarseness of his dress.
- In 1743 Emerson published his first mathematical textbook, The doctrine of fluxions.
- Indeed this view is supported by reading Emerson's long Preface where he spends much time defending the method of fluxions against criticism.
- Perhaps one of the most remarkable facts here is that Emerson constructed the many instruments illustrated in this work, including the spinning-wheel he constructed for his wife.
- However, it is clear that Nourse strongly encouraged Emerson and from 1763 onwards all his books were published by Nourse.
- Emerson agreed with John Nourse to write a course of mathematics and thirteen volumes were envisaged.
- Emerson maintained a remarkable output of textbooks: The Elements of Optics (four books) (1768); A System of Astronomy (1769); The Laws of Centripetal and Centrifugal Force (1769); The Mathematical Principles of Geography (1770); and Tracts (1770).
- Emerson's final book was Miscellanies or a Miscellaneous Treatise containing several mathematical subjects (1776).
- We should not give the impression that all of Emerson's mathematical publications were his books.
- Emerson was a strong healthy man for much of his life although he did nothing for his health with much drinking and enjoying his favourite hobby of spending hours fishing in water up to his waist.

Born 14 May 1701, Hurworth, near Darlington, England. Died 20 May 1782, Hurworth, near Darlington, England.

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Astronomy, Origin England

**Oâ€™Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive