Science, Via Bob Dylan

Sometimes, the most profound finding in a scientific article is not the science itself but a cleverly incorporated pun. Just ask Jon Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg. This pair of Swedish scientists have been sneaking Bob Dylan titles and song lyrics into their articles for 17 years. And while we're not doubting the importance of their work, we science neophytes would rather talk about the Dylan references than nitric oxide gases. The scientists are even competing to see who can incorporate the most references before retirement — now that's an experiment we can help with.

Both professors at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, Lundberg teaches nitric oxide pharmacologics while Weitzberg has a focus in anesthesiology and intensive care medicine. The only thing that could rival their passion for health and medicine? Their mutual love of folk legend Bob Dylan. The two must have been on a Dylan kick 17 years ago when they wrote the article, "Nitric Oxide and Inflammation: The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind," which includes lyrics from Dylan's 1963 hit "Blowin' in the Wind."

Weitzberg explained to the Karolinska Institute News:

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, with the purpose of detecting inflammation, the title came up and it fitted there perfectly.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Throughout their careers, Lundberg and Weitzberg have incorporated Dylan lyrics and titles into a handful of articles — never their own scientific papers, though, which is an important distinction. Weitzberg told Sweden's 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.

Soon Lundberg and Weitzberg's inside joke caught on, and several additional scientists at Karolinska (Dylan must be huge in Sweden) joined in on the scheme. Together, they've produced some punny titles like "Blood on the Tracks: A Simple Twist of Fate?," "The Biological Role of Nitrate and Nitrite: The Times They Are a-Changin'," "Tangled Up in Blue: Molecular Cardiology in the Postmolecular Era," and "Dietary Nitrate — A Slow Train Coming."

So who will come up with the most references before retirement? Well, with a prize as coveted as free lunch, we feel compelled to help out. Here are our Bob Dylan reference suggestions in the name of science.

The Mysteries of Anesthesiology: Just Like a Woman

Pledging My Time: The Lifelong Study of Nitric Oxide

Counting Our Body's Molecules Is Like Counting Every Grain of Sand

It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding): The Importance of Intensive Care Medicine

Heart of Mine: Cardiology in Modern Times

Image: Wikipedia Commons (2)