In 1975, a cat co-authored a physics paper
Cats totally assist with paper work all the time... laying on it counts as helping, right?
In 1975, a physicist by the name of Jack Hetherington had just finished writing a paper and was ready to publish but realized that he had used 'we' instead of 'I' throughout, despite being the sole author.
Not wanting to edit the paper, he listed his siamese cat, Chester, as a co-author.
The paper, which you can read here (which is way over our heads), was an in depth explanation of atomic behavior at different temperatures.
Written on a typewriter, it was far more tedious replacing “we” to “I”, as the search and replace function was obviously not an option we have in computers today.
On top of this he did not want to simply list one of his (human) friends as a co-author, as "prestige can take a hit when multiple authors are involved," among other reasons.
While his cat's name was Chester, Hetherington did not feel that he could list a generic name as a co-author. So, he made up the name F.D.C. Willard, where the F.D.C. stood for "Felix Domesticus, Chester," and as Willard was the name of Chester's father.
Here's an actual picture of Chester!
The first time anyone outside of Hetherington’s close colleagues learned of the cat scientist was when a visitor to the college came looking for the authors. Hetherington was away. As quoted in a piece on Today I Found Out, Hetherington said, “Everyone laughed and soon the cat was out of the bag.”
Hetherington had a good sense of humor to the whole situation, and would later make multiple reprints with both his signature and Chester’s, his paw print.
The paper was published in 35 of Physical Review Letters and is still referenced today.
Share this story!
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
This is why your cat hates plants
What happens when you close the door on a cat (comic)
Little girl reading her cat a bedtime story is the cutest thing you'll see
There's now a book written just for cats by a cat...
She asked which cat had been in the shelter the longest, brings home deaf toothless senior love bug
Is it okay to carry a cat like a baby?
Trainer suggested a spray bottle to get her cat off the table... cat hilariously defiant
Cat has huge sneeze and it's adorable
Lions fatally maul poachers who broke into reserve to hunt rhinos
Cat who saved owner's life by keeping her awake when she suffered a blood clot is given award