How Scientists Use Computers & Technology

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  • 0:00 The Role of Science
  • 1:05 Uses of Technology
  • 2:05 Uses of Computers in Science
  • 3:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

Whether you realize it or not, science and technology are very closely related. In this lesson, we will look at this close relationship and learn how scientists use computers and technology to help us learn about the universe.

The Role of Science

Science has changed the world. The modern world - full of cars, computers, washing machines, and lawnmowers -simply wouldn't exist without the scientific knowledge that we've gained over the last 200 years. Science has cured diseases, decreased poverty, and allowed us to communicate easily with hundreds of different cultures. The technology that we develop not only helps us in our everyday lives, it also helps scientists increase human knowledge even further.

Science is the pursuit of knowledge about the natural world through systematic observation and experiments. Science is really about the process, not the knowledge itself. It's a process that allows inconsistent humans to learn in consistent, objective ways. Technology is the application of scientifically gained knowledge for practical purpose, whether in our homes, businesses, or in industry.

Today we're going to discuss how that technological know-how gained through science allows us to expand our scientific knowledge even further. Let's look at how scientists use computers and technology.

Uses of Technology

It's hard to imagine science without technology. Science is all about collecting data, or in other words, doing experiments. To do an experiment, you need equipment, and even the most basic equipment is technology. Everything from the wheel to a Bunsen burner to a mirror is technology. So all experiments use technology.

But, as technology advances, we are able to do experiments that would have been impossible in the past. We can use spectroscopes (for spectrometers) to shine light through material and see what elements it's made of. We can use gigantic telescopes to see into the far reaches of our universe. We can use MRI scanners to study the inside of the human body and even the brain itself.

We can use a microscope to see the very tiny. And, we can use electronic devices to take measurements that are far more precise than anything that came before us. Technology is at the heart of all modern science experiments.

Uses of Computers in Science

And then came computers. Computers have revolutionized science more than any other device. With computers, we can take huge amounts of data and analyze it using statistics. The kind of pen-and-paper calculations that would have taken months can now be done in mere minutes.

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