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.

LATEST BLOG POSTS

The Mock Trial with a Guest Appearance from Assistant US Attorney Tim Rank

Tonight's Science Court class began our mock trial preparation for the final trial, which...believe it or not... is a mere week and a half away!  Our science team began the show tonight by presenting their domain  research to the class as a practice round for their presentations at the trial.  With expert feedback from Assistant US Attorney Tim Rank who joined us for tonight's class, the science domains are on track to tidy up their presentations for the trial and make sure that they are able to give our jury all of the necessary background research to make their final decision.

Nuclear Power: How complicated can it really be?

We've all heard of nuclear power, but how much does the average person really know about it? How important is it in the energy industry? And what is the current status of nuclear power here in the US? In this episode you'll get a crash-course in the state of nuclear power in the United States, and with it a good idea of why we're taking it to court.

Evidence Challenge: What's In and What's Out?

Yesterday evening, our Science and Legal Teams participated in the Science Court Pre-Trial Evidence Review Challenge.  The members of the Science Team presented the sources that the class and instructors decided should be challenged on the grounds of relevance and cause.  Each domain group argued why their sources should not be thrown out of the usable evidence pool for the trial.

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Upcoming Events

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Upcoming Science Court events will be announced here.

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