Before I begin, I am still a year removed from applying to grad schools. However, it never hurts to read up on some information beforehand. How binding and obligatory is the initial declaration of area of interest on the application? In other words, once you get into grad school, can you easily switch from, say, theoretical area to experimental and vice versa? Also, is it true that experimental areas are generally easier to get into than theoretical? It appears from reading this website and physicsgre.com that everyone wants to be the next Einstein or Feynman. Nothing wrong with that by any means, but being the next John Bell isn't bad either ;). I guess theory just has a "sexy" reputation. Any thoughts, comments, and general ponderings are welcome.