This paper discusses several current attempts to use acoustic and electromagnetic wave propagation for modeling physical phenomena and the role that wavelet analysis is playing in these efforts. The first problem involves geophysical modeling of the ocean floor using acoustic waves, and wavelets have recently been shown to play an important role. The second problem involves modeling of SAR radar images in the context of automatic target recognition efforts. The third problem is global illumination in computer graphics, i.e., simulation of reflected and absorbed light for everyday environments. The role of wavelets is more embryonic in these latter two areas, but there are some common principles in all of these modeling efforts, and the methodology of wavelets seems well suited to certain aspects of these problems.