Physics Paper Co-Authored By a Siamese Cat

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.

Via Pinterest. This isn’t Chester, just a random Siamese cat.

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

International Women’s Day: Pt 5, Chien-Shiung Wu

Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day is, according to this article, “a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality.”

Though why not celebrate with a week instead? Every day, I’ll highlight a woman and her achievements for International Women’s Day and keep this celebration going.




Today’s woman is physicist Chien-Shiung Wu. She is also known as the “First Lady of Physics” and has been compared to Marie Curie.

Via Pinterest

Chien-Shiung was born in China on May 31, 1912 and moved to the United States in 1936. During World War II, she was involved with the Manhattan Project and developed a way to separate uranium into two different isotopes.

Via Pinterest

Her research into beta decay and law of parity helped two of her colleagues to be awarded with the Nobel Prize for Physics, though she wasn’t awarded the prize herself. Her book Beta Decay is considered a standard for the field and Chien-Shiung was a professor as well as a researcher.

Via Pinterest