Hetherington & Willard (1975). One of the authors of this paper was a cat (No, seriously.)
The paper’s title was “Two-, Three-, and Four-Atom Exchange Effects in bcc ³He”, which is already pretty cool. So what was odd about this paper? Well you see, one of the authors was a cat.
Physicist Jack Hetherington had prepared his manuscript using the typical formal writing style used in many papers. He used active voice but avoided singular personal pronouns. Unfortunately, at the time, using plural pronouns in a single author paper was grounds for rejection from Phys. Rev. Lett. (apparently, they disapprove of people using “the royal we”). In those days, Hetherington had used a typewriter to compose his manuscript, so changing all the pronouns in the paper would have been immensely troublesome. Instead, as ever-pragmatic as many physicists are, he simply decided to include his siamese cat Chester as a co-author.
Because a single name would never suffice, and doubtless to prevent colleagues from recognising who this extra author really was, Chester was given the full name of F.D.C. Willard, Short for Felis Domesticus Chester Willard (Willard having been the name of the cat’s father).
The paper, Hetherington & Willard (1975), was published and does indeed have Chester the cat listed as Hetherington’s co-author! He’s therefore the only cat to have ever published anything in the field of low temperature phsics. Amusingly, this also means that this Cat has an Erdös number of 7, which I’m pretty sure is lower than mine. He probably has a lot more citations too.
Erdős number: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erd%C5%91s_number
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