Professor Ellad Tadmor and Student Luke Diamond Interviewed about Science Court
On December 6, 2018, Kerri Miller from MPR News interviewed Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics professor, Ellad Tadmor, and Luke Diamond, a senior in the journalism school. In the interview, Miller asked the two about their thoughts on the issue currently being discussed in Science Court at the University of Minnesota. Science Court is an interdisciplinary course in the honors program where students debate a social issue in front of a mock jury, hoping to come to a conclusion.
This year’s controversial topic is, “Do you think the State of Minnesota should implement a 1:1 technology program (providing a laptop or tablet to every K-12 student)?
Ellad Tadmor started by explaining how the jury debating the subject is selected. He said, “We try to get a heterogeneous jury with a mix of views; liberal, conservative, ages, sexes, because research has shown that heterogeneous groups debate better.” He then went on to explain the criteria that was required of the chosen topic to be debated which are, the case has to deal with an important issue, it has to be controversial, it must be of widespread interest, it has to be complex, there have to be good arguments on both sides, and there must be a concise case statement.
Luke Diamond, a member of the class working on the media team, which is the team that tells the story of the issue, has been creating podcasts each week to cover the events of the class. He then presents the most important and interesting information to the public by releasing a podcast on SoundCloud. Luke explained that one of the harder parts of his work is condensing the three hour long sessions they have in class into just a couple minutes.
One of the final statements in the interview was made by Luke, where he explained that, as a millennial, he and other millennials have been missing out on meaningful discussions where both parties can separate morals from ideas. He said, “Instead of saying, well you believe this you’re a bad person, we’re not going to have a productive conversation that way. It’s, okay you believe this, well let’s dig into that. Let’s figure out what’s right about that and what’s wrong about that and what works about that.”
The research, trial, and debate are already well under way, with a verdict to be rendered next Tuesday, December 18. To listen to the full interview, visit https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/12/06/miller-debating-issues-with-science.
Ellad Tadmor (left) and Luke Diamond (middle) being interviewed by Kerri Miller