Chris Blattman

In which a cat has more publications to his name than some academics

In 1975, Professor Jack H. Hetherington (Michigan State University) wrote a theoretical paper on his own and was about to send it to Physical Review Letters. But a colleague warned that the manuscript would be returned because of an editor’s rule that words like “we” and “our” should not be used in a publication with only one author.

Dr. Hetherington did not relish revising and retyping the whole text, so, instead, he simply added a co-author: his Siamese cat Chester (sired by Willard).

And for legitimacy, he tacked on two more initials, FD (from Felix domesticus) to create “FDC Willard.”

…Eventually the cat had to be let out of the bag when a visitor came to campus to see Professor Hetherington, found him unavailable, and then asked to speak to Willard.

I will resist making any jokes about my coauthors.

Source. Hat tip.

32 Responses

  1. I remember a similar story from a friend at Harvard about his adviser putting her dog as co-author. A quick google search came up with a wiki on Polly Matzinger and her dog with a very similar story to this one. Urban legend?

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