Cats may start your morning by climbing on your chest and pawing at your shoulder or demanding attention. The major reason we love cats is because of an uncanny ability that few humans possess. but it turns out, they’ve also been a benefit to science.
Yes, In 1975, The American physicist and mathematician Jack H. Hetherington, of Michigan State University, wanted to publish some of his research results in the field of low-temperature physics in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
A colleague, to whom he had given his paper for review, pointed out that Hetherington had used the first person plural in his text, and that the journal would reject this form on submissions with a sole author.
Rather than take the time to retype the article to use the singular form, or to bring in a co-author, Hetherington decided to invent one.
So the professor did the only logical thing and employed the identity of his Siamese cat, Chester. The name "F.D.C. Willard" was added (the first name stood for "Felix Domesticus, Chester" and "Willard" was the name of the cat’s father). .Fearing that colleagues might recognize his pet's name, he thought it better to use the pet's initial. Aware that most Americans have at least two given names, he invented two more given names based on the scientific name for a house cat, Felis domesticus, and abbreviated them accordingly as F. D. C. His article, entitled "Two-, Three-, and Four-Atom Exchange Effects in bcc ³He" and written by J. H. Hetherington and F. D. C. Willard, was accepted by the Physical Review and published in number 35 (November 1975).
At the 15th International Conference on Low-Temperature Physics in 1978 in Grenoble, Hetherington's co-author was exposed: Hetherington had sent some signed copies of his article to friends and colleagues and included the "signature" (paw prints) of his co-author in them.
Later, another essay appeared, this time solely authored by F. D. C. Willard, published (in French) in September 1980 in the French popular science magazine La Recherche. Subsequently, Willard disappeared as an author from the professional world.
Inspired by the kitty’s contributions to physics, the American Physical Society declared in 2014 that all cat-authored papers would now be available as open-access documents.