The science of Bob Dylan

Need a reason to pore through the scholarly articles of Swedish scientists? Of course you don’t. But here’s one anyway.

The scientists have been hiding Bob Dylan lyrics in their articles for the last two decades, NPR says.

It started 17 years ago with the first research on flatulence, referencing — as if I have to type this — “Blowing in the Wind.”

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 Eddie Weitzburg at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholma said. “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 and a colleague had a bet: Whoever could squeeze the most Dylan song references into articles before retirement gets a free lunch at a restaurant.

A fifth inductee, Kenneth Chien, a professor of cardiovascular research, joined the group when the four others discovered his classic title: “Tangled up in blue: Molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era.”

The Guardian says: “With five competing rivals, the pace of Dylan references accelerated. Lundberg and Weitzberg’s The Biological Role of Nitrate and Nitrite: The Times They Are a-Changin’, in 2009; Eph Receptors Tangled Up in Two in 2010; Dietary Nitrate — A Slow Train Coming, in 2011.”

Amid his sudden notoriety for the song lyrics contest, The Local asked Weitzberg, how does it feel?

“I would much rather become famous for my scientific work than for my Bob Dylan quotes,” he replied. “But yes, I am enjoying this!”

(h/t: Bob Hicks)