Scientific Models Discussion


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Scientific Models Discussion
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Find a peer-reviewed academic article that interests you and uses some kind of model. (It could be a scientific model or some other kind.) Attach the article or provide a citation (Title, Author, Journal, etc.). 

Article critiques: Create a new thread and post a critique of an article. Your critique should be at least 300 words and should address the following questions:

  1. Why is the model interesting to you? 
  2. Is it a scientific model or not? And how can you tell? Why or why not?
    (Use the Week 3 Lecture to help you decide – it should fit ALL of the criteria to be included in our course definition. Also see the Scientific Model Criteria document located in this week’s content.) 
  3. What is the research question they are asking with this model? What other research questions could they ask with that model?
  4. Include a link or full citation for your source material.

Reply posts: Next, write substantive, thoughtful replies to at least two of your peers’ posts. Be sure to read their source articles.  Reply posts should address the following prompts:

  • Do you agree with the assessment in the original post (particularly whether the article constitutes a scientific model according to the criteria)? If you do agree, indicate what convinced you. If you don’t agree, explain why. 
  • What other research questions might be addressed by the model? 
  • What other types of models might address the research aims?
  • You may also share any prior knowledge or personal experience you have with the topic to enrich the discussion.
  •  First post to reply:


Superconductors have been a interest of mine for the past year or so when I was introduced to them in the research lab I work in. When I get the occasionally day to read up on things that are outside the research project I often find myself in the realm of super conductors so I am by no means an expert. Of These the YBa2Cu3O7 super conductors are the most interesting to me due to a property in the crystalline structure between the copper and oxygen atoms characterized often in literature “Copper-Oxygen Planes”. These planes are credited with the superconductor’s ability to super conduct electricity above boiling temperature liquid nitrogen. So, the prospect of a model that would allow us to study these copper oxygen planes without the need to have a super conductor material at the critical temperature

This model operates on the lack of enough quantum computing power to adequately model these copper oxygen planes so instead they use an aspect of quantum computing using a quantum dot array via a dedicated quantum simulator. As an analogy they used was his model was like an analog vs a digital computing device. Where the model is not actually quantum computing but is producing a result of how electrons behave in a quantum environment. Based on the results of this model (as best as I can understand) we can extrapolate how the electrons move from orbital to orbital.   

This model is trying to ask can we measure the effect of copper-oxygen planes synthetically with an ‘analog device’. With this answered we can start to see the type of patterns we observe under certain energy conditions. That opens the door to a plethora of questions we can ask on how the physics of those planes work. Then based on those results you can apply them to actual YBa2Cu3O7 super conductors to verify the result.

Manousakis, E. (2002). A Quantum-Dot Array as Model for Copper-Oxide Superconductors: A Dedicated Quantum Simulator for the Many-Fermion Problem. Journal of Low Temperature Physics, 126(5), 1501-1513. 

Second Post to reply for: 


My article uses the Arabidopsis genome to study genome duplication and polyploidization. Arabidopsis is a plant in the mustard family that is a popular model organism for studying genetics. It is popular because it is small, has a short life cycle, has a small and completely sequenced genome, and has powerful reverse and forward genetics. This model is interesting to me because I’m interested in genetics.

This is a scientific model. Studying Arabidopsis can provide simple examples of evolutionary processes. The study of Arabidopsis is used to generate understanding about underlying genetic processes. The data produced by studying Arabidopsis can be compared to data produced by studying other, more complex genetic systems. Finally, data is collected on the evolutionary processes of Arabidopsis using the scientific method.

In this model they are studying the  utility of microarrays for genome-wide analysis of changes in gene expression, genome organization and chromatin structure in Arabidopsis polyploids and related species. In the future, The Arabidopsis model system could illuminate our understanding of mechanisms and evolutionary consequences of polyploidization that will be applicable to other polyploid taxa and natural populations, as well as provide insights into manipulating the expression of duplicate genes in polyploid agricultural crops.

Here a link to the article: 

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