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Energy & U free public performances, 7 p.m. May 18 and May 19; order tickets now

The University of Minnesota's popular Energy and U will, for the first time, offer two free public performances. These shows are scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, and Thursday, May 19, at the Rarig Center. Download a PDF flyer for the event.

This is a great opportunity for kids and adults alike to learn about different forms of energy and some of the challenges associated with converting them into the work we do every day. Working in partnership, the University's Department of Theatre Arts & Dance and Energy and U have created a dynamic, interactive, informative and professional-quality show focused on energy, the scale of world energy use, and significant energy challenges. Learning about the 1st law of Thermodynamics is fun in this high-energy show that has numerous explosions, demonstrations, which often involve volunteers from the audience, flames, and rock music that gets everyone our of their seats and dancing. Messages about attending college and learning about science and engineering are also included.

Free shows; however, tickets required

The shows are free; however, tickets are required. Seating is limited.

To reserve tickets,
go to
or call the U of M Tickets & Events Office
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Attendees may
pick up tickets at the Rarig Center will-call and box office the night of the performance,
request that tickets be mailed,
or pick up tickets in person at the Northrop Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

About the show

Presenters for these evening shows are Chemistry Professor David Blank, co-creator of the show and its director, and Chemistry Professor Christy Haynes. In addition to creating and coordinating the demonstrations, Joe Franek, Department of Chemistry lecture demonstration director, is also an integral part of the show.

The show's messages and its outreach are making a difference.

"Thank you so much for the awesome opportunity to attend the Energy and U event today. My kids loved it," wrote one third grade teacher after a show. "I teach at a very high needs school on the west side of Saint Paul, and many of my students do not know people other than their teachers who have been to college. On the way there, one of my 3rd grade students asked, 'Why are we going to a university? This isn't for us. I'm not going to go to college.' On the way out, she said, 'I want to be a chemist when I grow up!' Showing the kids that science has fun, real world applications is the first step in inspiring them. I am so happy that your team planted the seed that she should strive to work hard and do something great in her life."

Additional information about Energy and U is available at or

Growing in popularity

Since its conception 10 years ago, the University of Minnesota's Energy and U show has grown in popularity. It has continued to evolve while remaining centered on its messages about energy, and its primary purpose of getting elementary students excited about science and engineering. Twice a year, it conducts shows geared toward students in 3rd grade through 6th grade, and invitations are sent to all public, private and parochial schools in the seven-county metro area. In May 2015, Energy and U began a partnership with the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance, paving the way for professional quality staging, lighting, sound, and graphics, and showing the link between science and the arts. Demand for the show is high and continues to grow with thousands of students on the waiting list each year. Emphasis is placed on underserved populations in the sciences such as females, first-generation college students, students of color, and students living in poverty. Past financial support from a number of organizations has allowed Energy and U to reimburse schools for the cost of busing to the University, overcoming a financial barrier that can prevent many schools from participating.

Support for the show

Support for the show comes from the generous support of the National Science Foundation through the University of Minnesota Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and the Center for Sustainable Polymers, from corporate sponsorship, including Medtronic and Schlumberger, and from the University of Minnesota through the departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and Theatre Arts and Dance, and the College of Science & Engineering.

Individuals or industries interested in partnering in this high impact outreach activity for the school children of Minnesota may contact David Blank at, or 612-624-0571.