Models are central to the world of applied mathematics. In its simplest sense, a model is an abstract representation of a system developed in order to answer specific questions or gain insight into a phenomenon. In general, we expect a model to be based on sound principles, to be mathematically consistent, and to have some predictive or insight value. Models are the ultimate form of quantification since all variables and parameters that appear must be properly defined and quantified for the equations to make sense. ‘Do you believe in models? Simplicity and complexity’ discusses the complexity of models; the steps involved in developing mathematical models—the physics paradigm; and collaborative mathematical modelling.