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.


We Take Nuclear Power to Court

What happened at Hamline University? Who had the best arguments? What in the world is Thoriam? Find out the answers to all those questions and more about our trial in the podcast below!

Thank You For Tuning In!

And that's a wrap on our Fall 2019 Science Court Trial!  Thank you to Hamline University for hosting our trial in a beautful court room style classroom.  Thank you also to our amazing jury members. Without your time and dedication, we would not have been able to accomplish what we did here today. Thank you to everyone who joined us in the audience both in person and online via Facebook live.  We hope that you enjoyed learning more about all of the research our students have done throughout this semester.  Today, proves that hardwork really does pay off!  Finally, thank you to our incredible instructors Ellad Tadmor, Lauren Clatch, Scott Libin, and Collin Tierney as well as our honorable Judge Bill McGinnis for all of the advice, the hardwork, and the time that they all put into this class as well. Tomorrow, our jury will deliberate on their opinions of how things went today and what was said by the science and legal teams.  On Tuesday evening, our jury will deliver their final verdict, the moment we've all been very excited for.  Stay tuned to see what they decide and if nuclear power truly is our future! 


A Gee-Whiz Solution to the Climate Crisis?

Nuclear energy: is it too good to be true? Find out a little about the environmental impact of nuclear engineering on the environment- and whether it's the clean energy source we should be investing in. 


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Upcoming Events

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Upcoming Science Court events will be announced here.

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

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