On the existence of Stronzo Bestiale

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is one of the many studies credited to co-author Stronzo Bestiale:

Diffusion in a periodic Lorentz gas,” Bill Moran, William G. Hoover [pictured here], and Stronzo Bestiale, Journal of Statistical Physics , vol. 48, no. 3-4 (1987): 709-726.

The Retraction Watch blog explains about Stronzo Bestiale:

Should papers be retracted if one of the authors is a total asshole?

When science writer Vito Tartamella noticed a physics paper co-authored by Stronzo Bestiale (which means “total asshole” in Italian) he did what anyone who’s written a book on surnames would do: He looked it up in the phonebook.

What he found was a lot more complicated than a funny name.

It turns out Stronzo Bestiale doesn’t exist.

In 1987, Lawrence Livermore National Lab physicist William G. Hoover had a paper on molecular dynamics rejected by two journals the Journal of Statistical Physics. So he added Stronzo Bestiale to the list of co-authors, changed the name, and resubmitted the paper. The Journal of Statistical Physics accepted it.

27 years later, Bestiale is still listed as co-author on several papers….

BONUS (possibly related): “On the Existence of Mikhailov