cosmological anomalies

I had lunch with Jesse Muir (Michigan), and then she gave an informal seminar after lunch. She has been working on a number of things in cosmological measurement. One highlight is an investigation of the anomalies (strange statistical outliers or badly fit aspects) in the CMB: She has asked how they are related, and whether they are really independent. I discussed with her the possibility that we might be able to somehow lexicographically order all possible anomalies and then search for them in an ordered way, keeping track of all possible measurements and their outcomes, as a function of position in the ordering. The reason I am interested in this is because some of the anomalies are “odd enough” that I would expect them to come up pretty late in any ordering. That makes them not-that-anomalous! This somehow connects to p-values and p-hacking and so on. I also discussed with Muir the possibility of looking for anomalies in the large-scale structure. This should be an even richer playground.

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