Rules of Observational Cosmology

This page provides a few rules which should be used when interpreting results, papers and proposals in Observational Cosmology:

Rule 1 

You are allowed to throw out 10% of the data on any plot, before trying
to understand what it means.

Rule 2 

Always double the error-bar of the last point.

Rule 3 

There is no such thing as too cynical when it comes to judging the motives of Time Allocation committees.

Rule 4 

Distrust the results of a paper which mentions any of the following: Chaos theory, Fractals or Wavelets.

Rule 5 

If you see an observational paper with a theorist as lead author be very afraid.
  - sorry Tereasa...   :)

Rule 6 

If you're stuck for a question during a talk, ask the speaker about how their conclusions would change if they took into account: a) Malmquist bias; b) Magnetic fields; c) Dust.

Rule 7 

If the fourth author on a paper has to do any work on it, then the paper is covering too much and should be split in two.

Rule 8 

The corollary of Rule 7 is that most projects need no more than three people working on them. If you see a paper with more than three authors try to guess which is the pundit.

Rule 9 

There is an optimal ratio of the number of co-I's on a project to the number of objects which will be studied (see figure), when this is exceeded politics and sadness occur.

Last Modified: November 7th, 1997. [Netscape 2.0]