While writing an article about intestinal gasses 17 years ago, Karolinska Institute researchers John Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg couldn't resist a punny title: "Nitric Oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind".
Thus began their descent down the slippery slope of Bob Dylan call-outs. While the two men never put lyrics into their peer-reviewed studies, The Local Sweden reports, they started a personal tradition of getting as many Dylan quotes as possible into everything else they wrote -- articles about other peoples' work, editorials, book introductions, and so on.
Soon, the pun ring doubled in size. After another two researchers (also at Karolinska, where Dylan is apparently a big thing) published an article called "Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate," a librarian connected the foursome. A fifth scientist joined the group when his article "Tangled up in blue: Molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era" hit the stands.
Now, the researchers say, they have a running bet: Whoever can sneak in the most references before retirement will get treated to lunch.
Consider this a reminder that scientists are people, too, and that many of them really, really want to make you laugh. Of course, they hope you'll get past their chuckle-worthy headlines and pay attention to the science, too.
"I would much rather become famous for my scientific work than for my Bob Dylan quotes," Weitzberg told The Local, "but yes, I am enjoying this!"
The media attention won't stop Weitzberg and co. from following through on their wager. It seems that they'll keep on keepin' on.
For more funny scientists, check out this collection of jokes and Easter eggs in published literature.