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STEM events engage students and bring together a community.

Upcoming Events

Swenson College hosts and participates in a variety of fun, hands-on events that enlighten young students’ minds and gets them thinking about how science and technology is present in their everyday life.  These events also connect young students with experts and students in the STEM fields. Students learn from peer mentors what career opportunities exist in the real world beyond college.


March 2017

Spring Into Engineering (Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers)

  • Saturday, March 18, 2017
  • UMD Civil Engineering Building (High Bay Laboratory)
  • 12:00 to 4:30 PM.  Children can be dropped off after registration and picked up at the conclusion of the event.
  • Grades 3-5
  • Free event but must register to attend.

Come to UMD for an afternoon of hands-on activities and learn what it is like to be an engineer.  Children will learn about many different kinds of engineers and what they can do by putting children's creativity and problem solving skills to the test.  For more information or questions, contact the Society of Women Engineers at

The Theory of Everything

  •  Friday, March 31, 2017  Quantum Computation and Information
  • Recurring series, last Friday of the month through December 29, 2017
  • Marshall Alworth Hall (MWAH) Room 195, UMD Campus 1023 University Drive, Duluth MN 55812 (Map)
  • 5 PM to 6 PM
  • Visit the event page for details and to register

Driven by curiosity, scientist are unraveling the mysteries of nature based on reason, logic and experiments. The Theory of Everything public lecture series, organized by members of the Theoretical Physics and Cosmology group at UMD, brings cutting edge insights in contemporary theoretical physics to a broad audience. The senior scientists will challenge your world-view as they introduce you to quantum mechanics and parallel universes, to quantum computation and quantum field theories, to general relativity and black holes, to the big bang cosmology and inflation, to string theory and quantum gravity, to quantum cosmology and the multiverse, among other topics.

Science on Tap: The Science of Food, Eating and Cooking

  •  Thursday, March 30, 2017
  • Clyde Iron Works (First Floor Event Room) (Map)
  • 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
  • Guests DO NOT have to be 21 to attend or participate in this event

SCSE will be hosting the 2nd free Science on Tap series event at our partner location - Clyde Iron Works! Enjoy a pint while chatting with scientists and engineers the fun topic of The Science of Food, Eating and Cooking! Enjoy live and interactive demonstrations (and of course eating!) and there's a good chance you will learn something some interesting food facts along the way.

April 2017

Chemistry Magic Show

  • Friday, April 14, 2017
  • Chemistry Building Room 200, 1039 University Drive Duluth, MN 55812 (Map)
  • 6 PM to 7:30 PM
  • Parking is available all around campus and near the Chemistry Building

The UMD Chemistry and Biochemistry Club proudly present a night of magic and science for guests of all ages!  This free event is a collection of large-scale, exciting chemistry demonstrations and experiments. This show is for all ages and is a chance for everyone to learn about chemistry and science in a fun atmosphere.

Astronomy Day

  • Saturday, April 22, 2017
  • Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium (1023 University Dr, Duluth, MN 55812)
  • 10 AM to 4 PM         
  • Free parking is located in Gold Lot next to the Planetarium entrance

Activities for All Ages!  Come celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium.  There will be constellation shows, full-dome movies, full-dome universe tours, virtual reality demos, presentations, hands-on activities and workshops for kids of all ages. Bring the entire family for a day full of astronomy fun!

Physics Olympiad

What is a Physics Olympiad?

Physics Olympiads are competitions in Physics for high-school students. The Olympiad competitions are held regularly in many countries and are conducted at city, regional, state, country, and even international levels. For example, each year the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics sponsor a competition for high school students to represent the United States at the international level. The mission of these Physics competitions is to promote and demonstrate academic excellence and to provide intellectual stimulation for students interested in physical sciences. It is to encourage excellence in physics education and to reward outstanding physics students.   Another format of high-school physics competitions is the Young Physicists Tournaments (YPT).

The competitions consist of two parts: a theoretical part that involves solving problems (commonly three problems in the areas of physics taught in schools) and an experimental part that requires setting up creative experiments and performing measurements. The time for each part is several hours. 

Though the students compete individually, scoring is often kept for the teams, as teams of students from the same school (state, country, etc.) often train together for these events. In Duluth Olympiads, we allow teamwork in the experimental part of the competition. 

One of the organizers is Vitaly Vanchurin, an Assistant Professor in UMD’s Physics & Astronomy Department.  “The problems are actually fun and interesting and not like those on a test,” said Vitaly. “We want to intellectually challenge people and interest them in pursuing physics, too.”

Competitors will have three hours to complete both divisions before turning in their answers to the judges.

How do I become an Olympian?

Talk to your Science teacher or contact Sergei Katsev or Vitaly Vanchurin. Participation is free and we will send announcements about upcoming competitions. In most cases, a Physics teacher will put together a team, but we can also help in coordinating, helping you train, and help you get in touch with like-minded students in the area.

Examples of the types of brain teasers that will be presented to competitors can be found on-line. There is no cost to participate and the event is open to high school and college students. Pre-registration is appreciated if you are part of a group that plans to attend. To register and for more information, contact Vitaly Vanchurin at