These Medical Researchers Are Competing to See Who Can Quote Bob Dylan in the Most Scientific Articles


(Photo: Gustav Mårtensson)

The men pictured above are researchers at Karolinska Institutet, a medical school in Sweden. For a decade, they've been locked in a fierce competition with each other. Their goal is to quote the singer Bob Dylan more times than any other in their published scientific articles.


(Photo: Xavier Badosa)

It all began 17 years ago when researchers Jon Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg published an article entitled "Nitric Oxide and Inflammation: The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind." The last phrase is from one of Dylan's most famous songs.

A few years later, Jonas Frisén and Konstantinos Meletis published an article called "Blood on the Tracks: A Simple Twist of Fate" -- a double reference to Dylan. The text of the article also included Dylan lines.

Then the competition was on at full speed! The researchers determined that whoever published the most number of articles with Dylan quotes before they retired would win lunch at the expense of the others.

Why Bob Dylan of all singers? Because he represents something important in medical research:

Eddie Weitzberg thinks he merits a Nobel prize for Literature while Kenneth Chien compares him to a modern Shakespeare, though in music. But the researchers also draw parallels between Bob Dylan’s music and the world of research.

“A musician who merely continues down the same highway for 30 years is not one who many want to listen to. Good music is innovative, like Bob Dylan’s. And the same thing applies to good research. A researcher must also try to find new and different paths,” says Konstantinos Meletis.

-via Ian Chant


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