A simple twist of fate led these Dylan fans to the same university. Photo: Gustav Mårtensson
Five Swedish scientists have confessed that they have been quoting Bob Dylan lyrics in research articles and are running a wager on who can squeeze the most in before retirement.
The game started seventeen years ago when two Professors from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, John Jundberg and Eddie Weitzberg, wrote a piece about gas passing through intestines, with the title "Nitric Oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind".
The latter part of the title is from one of Dylan's most famous tracks.
"We both really liked Bob Dylan and we thought the quotes really fitted nicely with what we were trying to achieve with the title," Professor Weitzberg told The Local.
The pair decided to stick to the theme and went on to splice other lyrics into their work, including one entitled "The times they are a-changing".
"We're not talking about scientific papers - we could have got in trouble for that - but rather articles we have written about research by others, book introductions, editorials and things like that," said Weitzberg.
A few years later a librarian spotted an article written by two other medical professors working at the same university and connected the foursome.
The title was "Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate". It incorporated the name of both a Bob Dylan album and one of his tracks.
This led Professors Junberg and Weitzberg to invite their colleagues to take the idea to the next level and they started competing to see who could get the most Bob Dylan lyrics into their articles before retirement.
The winner gets lunch in a restaurant in Solna, just north of Stockholm, where their university is based.
One other Professor has joined the contest.
Kenneth Chien, Professor of Cardiovascular Research has also been quoting his idol for years and his fellow scientists recently got wind of his articles which include: "Tangled up in blue: Molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era".
"We really are not the only ones who try to be smart and catchy in our headlines," insisted Professor Weitzberg.
"If you read other scientific articles you'll find people trying to be clever in different ways".
Asked about the attention his wordplay is starting to gather in Sweden, The Local was sure to ask him "how does it feel?".
"I would much rather become famous for my scientific work than for my Bob Dylan quotes," laughed Weitzberg.
"But yes, I am enjoying this!"