Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics in research articles for 17 years

Dylan fanatics/scientists Jonas Frisén, Konstantinos Meletis, Jon Lundberg, Kenneth Chien and Eddie Weitzberg // photo by Gustav Mårtensson

Dylan fanatics/scientists Jonas Frisén, Konstantinos Meletis, Jon Lundberg, Kenneth Chien and Eddie Weitzberg // photo by Gustav Mårtensson

As part of a 17 year-running bet to see who can squeeze the most Bob Dylan lyrics in their articles before retirement, five scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have already coined gems such as “Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate?” and “Tangled up in blue: molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era.”

The Guardian reports of this bet beginning “in 1997, following Nature’s publication of a paper by Jon Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg, ‘Nitric Oxide and Inflammation: The Answer Is Blowing In the Wind.’

“We both really like Bob Dylan so when we set about writing an article concerning the measurement of nitric oxide gas in both the respiratory tracts and the intestine … the title came up and it fitted there perfectly,” Weitzberg said recently to the Karolinski Institute.

Bob Dylan in studio // via alldylan.com

Bob Dylan in studio // via alldylan.com

Then, through a simple twist of fate, The Local states that “a few years later a librarian spotted an article written by two other medical professors working at the same university and connected the foursome.” From then on, the four scholars invited their colleagues to join in on the competition. One other professor joined the group, as they ultimately determined the victor would receive free lunch at a restaurant in Solna, a city just north of where the institute is based.

“If you read other scientific articles you’ll find people trying to be clever in different ways,” Weitzberg said. “I would much rather become famous for my scientific work. But yes, I am enjoying this!”

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