U of M outreach program set to dazzle a public audience on Saturday, May 18

The Energy and U show is expected to wow thousands of students this week

Media Note: Members of the media may attend daytime school group shows at the Rarig Center to get photos and/or video. School group shows are 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. all week. Please contact Kalie Pluchel at pluch002@umn.edu to make arrangements on media credentials. 

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (05/14/2024) — Flames, explosions, music, and screaming gummy bears! They're all part of a fun and high-energy University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering outreach program, Energy and U, that aims to interest young people in science.

In addition to shows throughout the week for thousands of school children, Energy and U will perform a public show, for the first time since 2019, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 at the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Center, 330 21st Ave S., Minneapolis. General admission tickets are $5, and can be purchased on the University’s ticketing website.

Energy and U encourages elementary students to get excited about chemistry and learn about energy through an hour-long program filled with electrifying explosions, on-stage volunteer opportunities, and dynamic dance breaks. Each year, the College of Science & Engineering presents this show to more than 10,000 elementary students. 

Watch highlights from a recent show.

“Energy and U embodies everything that good outreach should be — it’s entertaining to watch but it also makes the kids (and adults) think about energy in a scientific way,” said Aaron Massari, a Chemistry Professor and the Energy and U show’s scientific director. “After the smoke clears and the music ends, we have evidence that the audience remembers the lessons of our show for a long time. The show prepares them to think critically about how they use energy in their own life and hopefully to see themselves studying science in college and becoming a part of the solution.”

The production involves nearly 100 students, faculty, and staff from the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Theater Arts and Dance (TAD).

Energy and U is supported by the National Science Foundation through the Minnesota Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the Center for Sustainable Polymers;  the College of Science and Engineering; University of Minnesota Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Theater Arts and Dance; Medtronic and 3M.

For more information and a video preview of the demonstrations, visit the Energy and U website.