This is where theoretical physics starts to lose me (my support, not my knowledge, which is not much to start with). I remember way back when I took Quantum Mech 101 in college, thinking to myself, something’s not quite kosher here. They seem to regard certain of the equations as actually existing as real things that interact with the physical universe versus just useful, though highly complex, tools. This 2D stuff sounds like that.
I also start to wonder, at those extreme small scales, how do they know they’re looking at something real versus a “ghost” of the tools they’re using?