Scientists Are Weirdly Obsessed With Bob Dylan

It turns out Bob Dylan has had a major influence not only on music and pop culture, but also on the scientific community.

Since 1970, there have been 727 references to the singer-songwriter’s work in biomedical literature, according to a new study.

And research shows the number of scientific articles referencing his songs and albums has increased “exponentially” since 1990.

By far the most cited Dylan song over the years has been The Times They are a-Changin,'” with 137 references. “Blowin’ In The Wind” comes in second, with 36 references, according to the study, which was published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ.

In all, 213 of 727 references were classified as “unequivocally citing” Dylan. And some are as clever as they are ridiculous.

For example, a 2015 article published in Frontiers in Plant Sciences was titled, “Knockin’ on pollen’s door: live cell imaging of early polarization events in germinating Arabidopsis pollen” — a reference to Dylan’s 1973 song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

And then there’s the 2013 paper about stem cells and brain development, “Like a rolling histone” — a reference to the 1965 track “Like a Rolling Stone.”

The list goes on: “Dietary nitrate — a slow train coming“; “Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate?”; “Don’t think twice, it’s all right — contralesional dependency for bimanual prehension movements”; and “Bringing it all back home: how I became a relational analyst.”

According to the research team, the recent study was inspired by a discovery in 2014 that a group of scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden was sneaking Bob Dylan lyrics into their papers as part of a long-running bet.

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