When you model something does it have to be a scientific model?

  1. To make or construct a descriptive or representational model of: computer programs that model climate change.

I am wondering what's the simplest model you can have. Would drawing a circle be considered a model? The circle would be a representation of a ball. Would then drawing a ball be the same as "modelling a ball"? Or is the simplest model either a Venn diagram or a Cartesian graph? Also, is a Venn diagram or a Cartesian graph a scientific model or just a model?

I am not completely sure when to use the verb model because of that.

1 Answer 1


No, a model is not necessarily a scientific model. For example people who build things construct physical models all the time, e.g. civil engineers building bridges or scenic designers building sets for a play.

Modeling can also be simple, as you describe. I would say a circle drawn on paper is a representation of a sphere, rather than a model. But in introductory physics we "model" the earth as a sphere when we know it is not, or we construct a "model" of a system in which friction and air resistance do not exist.

  • earth as a sphere is a scientific model of the earth or just a model of the earth?
    – Sayaman
    May 20, 2021 at 0:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .