It all started 17 years ago, when Karolinska Institute researchers John Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg just couldn’t resist the temptation. Their first Dylan-esque title read: “Nitric Oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind“.

A simple twist of fate led these Dylan fans to the same university. Photo: Gustav Mårtensson

But this was just the beginning; in no time, they were competing to see who can include the most Dylan references before retirement. Now, the contest didn’t apply for peer reviewed studies, but everything else was fair game: editorials, book, articles etc.

“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. “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,” he added.

It didn’t take long before the competition grew. A few years after the first article, a librarian spotted their reference: “Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate” – a clear reference. Kenneth Chien, Professor of Cardiovascular Research had also been quoting Bob Dylan, unbeknown to Weitzberg and Lundberg, so he was also invited to the contest. The prize was a lunch in a restaurant in Solna, just north of Stockholm, where their university is based.

Who knows, maybe there are even more researchers out there quoting Bob Dylan just waiting to be discovered – so keep an eye out.

“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”.

Of course, the remaining question now is “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!”

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