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Lesson 1

Scientific Computing Applications in the 21st Century


To discover

  • the way information technology has changed our understanding of science and the world
  • issues of morality and ethics which have arisen as result.


Discuss the following Guiding Questions

1. How has information technology improved our understanding of science?

2. Will advances in information technology create moral and ethical questions? (e.g. health care, privacy)

Play the following clip:

Applications of Quantum Computing

Quick Pair and Share with another student on the importance of information technology for science and engineering in the 21st century.


Watch the presentation and discuss as a class: how has information technology enabled us to improve our understanding of science?

Life Before the Computer

Use the following resources (and any others) to research the guiding questions. Consider the important role computing plays in the scientific discovery process as well as moral and/or ethical questions arising from these applications.

  • Computational Research

This webpage by Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences, explains the role of the Computational Research Division with links to the CRD site.

  • Science at NERSC

This webpage explains the core mission of NERSC: to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery through computing and data analysis. It has links to their current projects in various different fields of science.


Working in pairs, access web-based information on how information technologies play a major role in the scientific discovery process and create a graphic organizer which depicts our dependence on IT.

The graphic organizer must address the two key guiding questions outlined above and it is recommended that you construct your graphic organizer using the “Inspiration” Software or Application (Mac/PC/iPad versions).


As a pair, report back to the class with a quick summary presentation of your thoughts/reflections on the topic addressing the two key guiding questions.