The Man Behind the Curtain

Rex Allen has made this link on the everything-list

http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list/t/0160c37c8ddaba73

See also small discussion there.

Tony Rothman
The Man Behind the Curtain
Physics is not always the seamless subject that it pretends to be
American Scientist, May-June 2011, Volume 99, Number 3, Page: 186
http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/num2/2011/3/the-man-behind-the-curtain/1

It is a nicely written paper that content is pretty close to what I think at the moment: physics is just a collection of models. There are many good examples to this end in the paper. The last paragraph:

Such examples abound throughout physics. Rather than pretending that they don’t exist, physics educators would do well to acknowledge when they invoke the Wizard working the levers from behind the curtain. Even towards the end of the twentieth century, physics was regarded as received Truth, a revelation of the face of God. Some physicists may still believe that, but I prefer to think of physics as a collection of models, models that map the territory, but are never the territory itself. That may smack of defeatism to many, but ultimate answers are not to be grasped by mortals. Physicists have indeed gone further than other scientists in describing the natural world; they should not confuse description with understanding.


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