Welcome to Science Court!

Science Court is a project designed to combat polarization in American society and strengthen democracy. It is run as an interdisciplinary course in the University of Minnesota Honors Program involving students from across the university. The students select a controversial issue and spend an entire semester studying it in depth to determine the facts (based on sound scientific research) and then argue it in a mock trial in front of a jury of citizens with a mix of views and backgrounds. The public is engaged through compelling audio, video and online content generated by the students about the preparations, trial and verdict. The trial is open to the public.

Logo of the College of Science and Engineerig at the University of MinnesotaWatch a short talk by Ellad Tadmor on Science Court given as part of the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Curiosity Drives Progress Lecture Series


MPR News with Kerri Miller icon Kerri Miller from MPR News thinks Science Court is a "great idea!":

   Listen to the full interview.

2021 Mandatory Service

AmeriCorps volunteers being sworn in

The Science Court case statement for 2021 is:

To fight polarization and recreate a common American identity, a mandatory national service should be adopted.

The exact wording may change somewhat as the case is refined, but the focus will remain on strategies for reducing polarization in American society. The pro side will argue for a strategy centered on civil and military national service. The con team will argue for a different approach, still to be determined, for reducing polarization on a grand scale. The jury will decide.

We welcome your input as we prepare our case. If you have any questions on this issue that you would like us to investigate or any suggestions for us, please fill in our public input form.


2021 Science Court Case Selection Results

Drum roll please... The results for the 2021 Science Court case are:

To fight polarization and recreate a common American identity, a mandatory national service should be adopted

We tallied the votes separately for students, staff and audience and all three groups ranked mandatory service as their top choice. Fifty people ranked Mandatory Service as their first pick for Science Court 2021. In second place, was Regenerative Agriculture, with 36 people ranking it as their first pick.

Documentary of SciCourt 2019!

Our fantastic Grace O'Neil wrapped up a memorable year in this fantastic documentary. Definitely worth the watch! Don't forget to tune in next year for our next SciCourt Case!


2021 Science Court Case

Image showing the scales of justice against a courtroom backdrop

Science Court will be offered again in Spring 2021 starting on January 19, 2021. What controversial issue should we study? If you have suggestions for the students, fill in our suggestion form.

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Upcoming Events

When: Tuesday, Feb 2, 2021, 4:00 p.m. CT (recording also available)
Where: Online. Registration required.
What: "Choose our Case" event

Another season of Science Court is underway and we are choosing our case. Join us Feb 2 for a live event (or watch a recording) of the cases being considered and then vote for your favorite. See which cases are being considered and registration information at:


To be kept informed, follow us on twitter or join the Science Court mailing list.

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To be kept up-to-date on Science Court news and upcoming events, join the Science Court mailing list.