I love cats and I love science. When I came across this article, I was amused by the marriage of both of those loves.
The story goes that a physics professor by the name of Jack H. Hetherington was writing an academic paper in 1975. The title of the paper was Two-, Three-, and Four-Atom Exchange Effects in bcc 3He and it was about “atomic behavior at different temperatures” (Atlas Obscura, 2016). The only problem was, after Hetherington finished writing his paper, it was realized that he had used “we” throughout the paper and he was the only writer of said paper.
In order to not rewrite the entire thing to change the pronoun to “I” instead of the “we” that was already there, along with other reasons, Hetherington instead found a co-author to share the credit with, and his Siamese cat, Chester fit his requirements.
Hetherington didn’t use Chester straight out as his cat’s coauthored credit name and went with F.D.C. Willard. The F.D.C. stands for Felix Domesticus, Chester (aka ‘domestic cat’ – Chester). Willard was the name of Chester’s father.
The paper was published in Physical Review Letters, issue 35.
Agent Romanoff doesn’t care about physics, unfortunately, or publishing papers. But maybe I’ll have her be a coauthor for my next blog post.
Reference: In 1975, a Cat Co-Authored a Physics Paper