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 was:

To fight polarization in American society, a mandatory national service should be adopted.

The pro side argued for a strategy centered on mandatory civil and military national service for Americans 18-30 years old. The con team argued for a major expansion of voluntary service programs with incentives to maximize participation for Americans of all ages.

The trial was held April 24, 2021 and results are in... click to see the trial details and verdict.

2022 Science Court Case

Image showing the scales of justice against a courtroom backdrop

Science Court will be offered again in Spring 2022 starting on January 18, 2021. What controversial issue should we study? If you have suggestions for the students, fill in our suggestion 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!

The Final Verdict!

And the verdict is.... 10-5 to the Pro Team! After 3 hours of deliberation on Sunday the jury delivered their final verdict just a few minutes ago.  It was a great semester full of discussion, debate, and a lot of research! We would like to thank you all for following along, but we would also like to remind you to stick around. There is still another Podcast and a Documentary about the trial on the way! Not to mention, we will be back next fall for another edition of SciCourt.


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Upcoming Events

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Upcoming Science Court events will be announced here.

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