Models and the scientific method

Saul Griffith's Make column, Model It, or Make It Modelable, is a really smart look at the way that models fit into the scientific method, and how computer models allow for rigorous peer-review of theories about how the world and the machines we build might work:
But here's the beautiful thing about modeling. Computational models are digital, and that makes them inherently shareable, independently verifiable, and easy to collaborate on and improve.

Whereas my inclination was to immediately start to build something physical, Geoff's approach -- the approach of a new generation of engineers and scientists -- was to begin with a model. Start with bits. Make them perfect, beautiful, defendable, sharable bits, then render them physical once you've reached an optimum. Sure, someone might figure out a better optimum one day, but because they can start with working, executable code, they'll get to it faster.

There's an even more important reason to encourage this culture of shared models. The more people who have experience simulating the world with success, and making things from those models, the more people will trust in the models of our physical world that will guide how we shape our future.

Model It, or Make It Modelable

(Image: Printable Clock, Parametric Proof of Concept by syvwlch, Syvwich/Thingiverse )