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.


Dams Kill People Too!

Nuclear energy has a pretty bad reputation- radioactive materials, nuclear meltdowns- most people don't really trust the safety of nuclear power plants.  Most people might just be unfairly biased against nuclear power, and we'll discuss it in the latest podcast about the health and safety of nuclear engineering. 

Kerri Miller Visits SciCourt

The ScienceCourt team was lucky enough to sit down with MPR host and former television reporter Kerri Miller to discuss their research and arguments.  Gear up- because the science court team is ready for court! 

Evidence Challenge: An Update from our Programming Team

So you might be curious as to what actually happened at our Evidence Challenge a couple of weeks ago?  What went down? Who argued what?  What did Judge Bill McGinnis decide as to what research the science and legal teams could use as evidence and what they must throw out of the pool?  Watch this explainer video made by our Programming Team member Grace O'Neil to see for yourself!



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Upcoming Events

When: TBA
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Upcoming Science Court events will be announced here.

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