This paper examines the nature and function of mathematical models, using illustrations from cosmology, space geometry and atomic physics. Mathematical models enable us to make precise calculations and predictions; they serve as analogies and conceptual frameworks that lead to new discoveries; and they bridge the gap between appearance and reality. Their success implies that the universe had a mathematical structure. However, one must be careful not to confuse models of reality with reality itself. A variety of models can represent the same data; any model can be given different physical interpretations. The choice of a model and its interpretation depends largely on one’s worldview.
Byl, John, "Mathematical Models and Reality" (2003). ACMS Conference Proceedings 2003. 11.
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