What Is a Model in the Scientific Sense?

A scientific model is a representation of a real phenomenon that might be difficult to observe otherwise. This type of model is used for representing weather as well as biological and physical phenomena that cannot be seen and measured easily with the naked eye or even with tools.

Scientific models take the form of physical, conceptual or mathematical models. Physical models might be interactive, meant to physically display the event at a scale that is easier to observe, though not necessarily perfectly matching the phenomenon being studied. Mathematical models occur in use of physics quite frequently, because many ideas in physics cannot be measured easily or in a short period of time. When studying ecological phenomena, the aspect studied might be far too large of scale to measure accurately, either in time or actual size.

Models are tools that are used to understand scientific ideas more easily. Pictures of atoms and their components are considered scientific models, as it is very difficult to view an atom at the scale it exists at due to its properties. Similarly, weather patterns or seismic events can occur over periods of years, decades or even centuries and more, requiring scientific models using other data to form an understanding of the whole picture.