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The Boston Globe

Ideas

The Word

Higgs boson metaphors as clear as molasses

The pleasures and limits of analogy in science

Perhaps no field of human endeavor relies more on metaphor than science. The Big Bang. Atomic “orbits.” Evolution—is it a ladder, a tree, or a bush?

This is what happens when language is called upon to describe something whose origins lie elsewhere—in physical realms either too vast or too small for our everyday perception, in discoveries driven by math and measurements.

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