The lyrics can be found in articles, editorials and book introductions by the scientists

By Alex Heigl
Updated September 29, 2014 06:05 PM
Credit: Getty

A group of Swedish scientists have spent the past 17 years not thinking twice and sneaking Bob Dylan lyrics into their back pages. But it’s all right.

The group’s competition dates back to when a team from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm published a paper about, er, flatulence, titled, “Nitric Oxide and Inflammation: The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind.”

“We both really liked Bob Dylan and we thought the quotes really fitted [sic] nicely with what we were trying to achieve with the title,” Professor Eddie Weitzberg told The Local.

The trend continued, until a few years later, when a sharp-eyed librarian took notice of another article written by two other professors at the same university titled, “Blood on the Tracks: A Simple Twist of Fate,” which describes very little about anything scientific, but does use two Dylan songs instead of just one.

The librarian contacted Weitzberg with the coincidence, and Weitzberg and his original partner in Dylan-referencing, John Jundberg, then extended their colleagues a formal challenge to see which of them could insert the most Dylan lyrics into their articles before retirement. (The winner gets a free lunch, and possibly “One More Cup of Coffee.”)

The foursome were joined by another professor, Kenneth Chien, who’s been playing the game for years, with articles like “Tangled up in Blue: Molecular Cardiology in the Postmolecular Era.”

The group is careful to maintain their professionalism: “We’re not talking about scientific papers – we could have got in trouble for that,” Weitzberg said. “But rather articles we have written about research by others, book introductions, editorials and things like that.”

“I would much rather become famous for my scientific work than for my Bob Dylan quotes,” he adds, laughing.

“But yes,” he notes, “I am enjoying this!”

Want more stories like this?

Sign up for our newsletter and other special offers:

Thank you for signing up!