Today’s precision cosmology, which began with COBE and continued with WMAP and Planck, requires theorists and experimentalists to cooperate in order to resolve the statistical variations in data. In the 20 years since Jan Tauber joined the Planck team, he has watched cosmology seesaw, as theorists and experimentalists race to catch up to each other. “Now they’re being forced to talk,” he says.
The odd reality of cosmology—of any science— is that anomalies are interesting because they defy theory, but may not be taken seriously until they are explained by a theory the experimentalists can test. They could also turn out to be little more than unlikely patterns, like tossing a coin and coming up with 10 heads in a row.