Scientific Models in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Research and in the Biology Curriculum

  • Alice Siu Ling Wong
  • Maurice M. W. Cheng
  • Valerie W. Y. Yip
Part of the Models and Modeling in Science Education book series (MMSE, volume 7)


An in-depth case study of the authentic scientific research during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis revealed a rich list of features of nature of science (NOS). Among these features, model building stands as a prominent activity of scientists for understanding, explaining, and making sense of some of puzzling observations. In this chapter, we present a detailed analysis of four key episodes of the scientific inquiries during the SARS epidemic, namely, (1) the identification of the transmission mode, (2) the hunt for the causative agent of SARS, (3) the search for the natural host of the SARS-related coronavirus, and (4) the explanation of the mysterious infection pattern in the tragic outbreak at Amoy Gardens (a residential complex), to highlight the important roles and characteristics of models, modeling, and multiple levels of representations of science. We also describe how these scientific models developed were intricately related to social, cultural, and political environments. We then review the roles and nature of scientific models emphasized in the most recent biology curriculum implemented in Hong Kong and critique on its inadequacies in fully reflecting the important function of models and modeling in the authentic scientific inquiries.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Scientific Model Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Patient Biology Curriculum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Siu Ling Wong
    • 1
  • Maurice M. W. Cheng
    • 1
  • Valerie W. Y. Yip
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina

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