'Total Asshole' Is Technically a Published Physicist - Pacific Standard

'Total Asshole' Is Technically a Published Physicist

Stronzo Bestiale, translated "Total Asshole," can be found in the authorship listings of at least a few reputable physics journals.
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In much the same way Americans named Penis "exist" on certain strange corners of the Internet (but, actually, nowhere else), an Italian by the name of Stronzo Bestiale, translated "Total Asshole," can be found in the authorship listings of at least a few reputable physics journals.

As Vito Tartamella, a writer and fellow name detective, explains on his blog, "Total Asshole" doesn't seem to be a legitimate person outside that narrow realm:

I tried to find this personin Italian telephone directoriesInItalythere are 7Bestiale, mostly inPiedmont. None of them, however, has thenameStronzo (Turd or a Asshole: whowould calltheir own son that?); between the VenetoandTrentino-Alto Adigethere are 4Stronziero, butthis is alsoa surname.

In fact, Tartamella got one of Bestiale's old co-authors, a retired Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher named William G. Hoover, to cop to the fact that he invented the name after he became frustrated that pesky journal reviewers wouldn't accept some of his more "innovative" theoretical physics work. Hoover explained:

while I was traveling on a flight toParis, next to mewere twoItalian womenwho spokeamong themselves, sayingcontinually: “Che stronzo (what an asshole)!”, “Stronzo bestiale (total asshole)”. Thosephraseshad stuckin my mind.So,during a [Centre EuropéendeCalculAtomiqueetMoléculaire]meeting, I asked [an Italian colleague]what they meant. When he explained it to me, I thought that Stronzo Bestiale would have been the perfectco-authorfor a refused publication.So Idecided to submit mypapers again, simplyby changingthe title andadding the nameofthat author.

With the added weight of Stronzo Bestiale's expertise, the paper was published. (h/t @jpinsk) —Ryan Jacobs

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