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.
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