Random Thoughts in a Random Universe

Are Theorists Smarter Than Observers?

While working through the close to 250 applications for PhD positions at the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Astrophysics1 for the current round of applications, I noticed an odd pattern: Reference letter writers who saw a candidates strengths more in theory than in experiment seemed to rank these students higher compared to those whose strengths are more in experiment.