Five Swedish scientists with a penchant for Bob Dylan, have been amusing themselves for 17 years by inserting the famous wordsmith's lyrics into their work, all in order to win a free lunch.

Bob DylanBob Dylan, inspiring Swedish scientists

The fun began in 1997 when Jon Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg published a paper on flatulence (of all things) entitled ‘Nitric Oxide and Inflammation: The Answer Is Blowing In the Wind’. Several years later the duo then discovered that two of their colleagues, Jonas Frisén and Konstantinos Meletis, had also used a Dylan’s reference in the title of their 2003 paper about the ability of non-neural cells to generate neurons called, ‘Blood on the Tracks: A Simple Twist of Fate?’.

The discovery led to a bet between the four scientists, who could write the most articles with Dylan quotes before going into retirement, with the prize being a lunch at the local restaurant Jöns Jacob. Soon another competitor joined the bet, Kenneth Chien, a professor of cardiovascular research who had already penned a paper entitled, 'Tangled Up in Blue: Molecular Cardiology in the Postmolecular Era' in 1998.

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Articles which followed included '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.

Speaking to Swedish newspaper The Local Eddie Weitzberg explained, “The bet is not for strict scientific papers. We could have got in trouble for that. This is for articles we have written about research by others, book introductions, editorials and things like that.”

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Weizberg also added that of course all four men where great fans of Dylan and they suggested he should win win the Nobel prize for literature. But as much as the five are loving the attention Weiztberg did tell the paper he would "much rather become famous for my scientific work than for my Bob Dylan quotes.”