I could go along with that. In Physics, people are reluctant to talk about what something 'is' because all we can ever describe with some certainty is what it 'does'.When people say light is a wave what do they mean? Isn't a wave what something does and not what something is?
Yes. As long as you know, it's OK for your. The problem is that teachers and broadcasters do not actually know that. They present metaphors to kids as if they are fact (many teachers do not know better). That helps no one in the long run.As long as you know it's just an aid to visualisation, that is.
I would actually not agree with that. Children want to be presented with models of the world, (Scientific, social and moral) with which they can cope. In a few cases, they can move on to more sophisticated models but, if you look at the more popular newspapers and TV, you can't not be aware that most people actually dont't want a part of those more formal processes. They want a statistic about how far away the nearest star is and not the mechanism that keeps a Galaxy the way it is. No wonder that many adults look back on most of their education as a blur and boring - they have been preached at by teachers who were convinced that every class member was going to be a Scientist, Mathematician, Linguist.children want to know the true nature of things.
A specific interpretation may give a physicist insight or intuition into a theory which helps him develop the theory further, even though in the end his findings can also be "explained" using the other interpretations of the theory.But I think there's a place for interpretation in physics: for metaphors and mechanical models even in the abstract realms of the quantum world.
I'd go further than that. Einstein claimed to have used all sorts of pictures of everyday events to help him through his groundbreaking discoveries. But they were 'personal' and he never sold them as 'truth'. A genius, communicating with non-genius but well informed people can often get the ideas across with metaphor but none of 'us' believes that the metaphor is anything but that.A specific interpretation may give a physicist insight or intuition into a theory which helps him develop the theory further, even though in the end his findings can also be "explained" using the other interpretations of the theory.
I'm not so sure this is always true. I remember wanting to know "what is time" as a very young child and being disappointed with the books in the local library (pre-World Wide Web) which just focused on clock mechanisms etc. I was fired up on Doctor Who, so that stuff just seemed dull. I would have loved a mind-blowing explanation.I would actually not agree with that. Children want to be presented with models of the world, (Scientific, social and moral) with which they can cope.
From the linguistic perspectie, many words in English have different meanings, depending on the context in which they are used.Isn't a wave what something does and not what something is?
You are right about the Maths. BUTTTTTT talk to any random person in the pub and ask them how they get on with Maths. That's the stumbling block for the majority of the human race and Physics.Perhaps having a model with which we can cope really means having something to fill in the gaps in our mathematical ability. Mathematics seems to be the ultimate, endlessly self-generating model.