Physicists sometimes say that light travels in waves

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A note for Lesson no. 2, "Your Brain Is a Network," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 45 is:

...genes are sometimes described as "blueprints." [...] Physicists sometimes say that light travels in waves...

The appendix adds:

In this metaphor, I am not referring to wave-particle duality but to the myth of luminiferous ether...

These examples of genes as "blueprints" and light traveling in "waves" are commonly used to illustrate the limitations of metaphors in science. For example, the evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin uses both examples in the introduction of The Triple Helix.[1]


  1. Lewontin, Richard. 2001. The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.