It looks kernel doesn't recognize the touchpad properly. It can be caused by improperly configured kernel or kernel regression of some kernel versions.
I've tried to figure out how to get more deeply into the problem and it seems that starting from analysing output of dmesg command is the most basic.
In case touchpad is recognizible kernel will report something like, in your case something like ALPS Touchpad will indicate success:
[ 19.543616] Synaptics Touchpad, model: 1, fw: 6.2, id: 0x25a0b1, caps: 0xa04713/0x200000/0x0
[ 19.580964] input: SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad as /devices/platform/i8042/serio4/input/input7
If something like "Generic PS/2 mouse detected" is in dmesg output, kernel should be changed/reconfigured.
After some searching on www I found the following problem description on ubuntuforums:
If I correctly understand your laptom came with Ubuntu installed and it worked well, but after installing Scientific Linux touchpad lost scrolling ability, so problem can be caused different kernel versions on Ubuntu and Scientific Linux.
Can you install other kernel? I suppose Scientific Linux provides several kernel versions available.
Other way could be to build linux kernel of that version what was installed on Ubuntu with options described on link below(make oldconfig than enable options that described below):