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The Secret History of the Cat Who Authored a Physics Paper

Of course cats are into physics experiments. In 1975, Jack Hetherington wrote a physics paper called Two-, Three-, and Four-Atom Exchange Effects in bcc 3He. His co-author has since become famous in science circles, because he was a cat. And that came about because giving him credit was easier than re-typing.  

Before sending it to the Physical Review Letters, Hetherington noticed he’d been using the pronouns “we” and “us” throughout the paper, even though he was the sole author. Instead of editing the piece—which was written on a typewriter—Hetherington cleverly added his cat as co-author.

Even more interesting is how the cat got the pen name F.D.C. Willard, which is told at Gizmodo.


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