Now reading: Great Physicists and the Pets Who Inspired Them

Take a self-guided tour from quantum to cosmos!

Great Physicists and the Pets Who Inspired Them

Sometimes the best kind of scientific collaborator is a silent partner who lends a hand (or a paw) simply by keeping things uncomplicated.

From Maxwell’s dogs and Hubble’s cat to Tycho Brahe’s unfortunate elk, four-legged friends have been a mainstay in lives of great scientists.

Here’s a look at influential scientists whose pets gave them paws for reflection.


Watch a Perimeter Institute talk on Einstein and his (two-legged) collaborators.


Read Tesla’s letter to a friend about his early fascination with electricity.


Read the evidence for (and against) Newton’s invention of the cat door.


Check out the Slice of PI on the life and work of Edwin Hubble.


Check out the Slice of PI on Richard Feynman’s most notable quotes.


Watch “Boltzmann’s Dog and Darwin’s Finch,” a biophysics colloquium at Perimeter Institute.


Watch a short documentary about the life and work of James Clerk Maxwell.


Learn more about the astronomical work and odd life of Tycho Brahe.


Find out more about Burschie and all of Schrödinger’s animals in this PBS Nova article “Schrödinger’s Menagerie”.

More Bites of PI:


What do you get when 11 of Canada’s top science organizations go back to high school for a day? One amazing and inspiring experience.

/Jun 01, 2017

Whether you’re headed back to school or just restarting your brain after a relaxing summer, here’s a handy guide to what’s been happening in the world of physics.

/Aug 29, 2018

Perimeter’s annual International Summer School for Young Physicists gathered 40 students from across Canada, the US, and Brazil for virtual lessons – and the chance to share excitement about modern physics.

/Aug 20, 2020