By Sally Burn and the Scizzle crew
We are hurtling at warp-speed towards Christmas and the requisite exchange of presents. Have you bought yours yet? If not, fear not – Scizzle has compiled a festive compendium of science-related gifts, to suit all budgets and scientific persuasions! Hop aboard our cyber sleigh as we take you on a journey to geek giftville…
For the culinary chemist
Bring science into the kitchen with a science-themed wooden chopping board from Elysium Woodworks. Designs include the periodic table, solar system, and Pi. For the boozy chef, continue the Pi theme with a Pi bottle opener and a wine chemistry glass. Looking to actually do science in the kitchen? The Molecular Gastronomy Kit is perfect for that special person in your life who finds dissatisfaction with the normal physical properties of their food. This kit allows them to mix things up a little, converting liquid ingredients into jelly cubes or powder, and allowing the formation of food beads. Because solid turkey with liquid gravy is just terribly passé.
For the nerdy neonate
Get them started young with the Future Scientist lab coat baby onesie or the Future Quantum Physicist bib. Then throw away that raggedy teddy and introduce giant plushy microbes into their lives. For children age ten and older, the Kid’s Edible Chemistry Kit is a great option. On a tight budget? For only $3 you can buy a set of 24 Chemistry Crayon labels, which relate the crayon to the chemical that would make that color.
For the overgrown child in your life
They may have a PhD, but they are still a massive geeky child at heart. We’ve seen a number of products ideal for these big kids, including the 3Doodler 3D printing pen and the Necomimi Brainwave Controlled Cat Ears (REPEAT: Brainwave! Controlled! Cat! Ears! Does it get any better than that?!).
For the sartorial scientist
Snappily dressed female scientists will be thrilled to receive the formula-festooned All Eyes on Unique Dress in Science from Modcloth. It has a Peter Pan neckline, pockets, and 4,5-dibromocyclohexene printed on it – need I say any more? If your intended recipient is seeking a more brightly colored number, you might like to consider this retina print dress. Based on a schematic diagram of a radial section through the retina by 19th century Italian physician Feruccio Tartuferi, the print is bright, quirky, and biologically informative!
Looking for something smaller? How about stuffing their stockings with a pair of Theory of Versatility Einstein socks? Or, for a classier edge, explore jewelry – Etsy in particular is brimming with science-themed pieces. Our favorites necklaces are the solar system necklace (featuring a cameo from our moon), lab glass necklace, silver microscope necklace, and – for the science hipster wanting to wear the most currently talked about virus – the Ebola necklace. The developmental biologist in your life might be appreciative not only of these silver mouse embryo earrings, but also of many of the other things in the maker’s Etsy store – DNA ladder earrings, Erlenmeyer flask stud earrings, and zebrafish embryo cufflinks to name but a few.
For the arts and crafts lover
Every self-respecting microbiologist needs a crocheted moldy petri dish. Crochet and science make excellent partners – just check out this crocheted dissected mouse with removable organs. If those two gifts are a bit too much for you to stomach, plump for a more subtle screen printed karyotype cushion or eukaryotic cell diagram cushion. For wall art, you would do well to take a look at this gorgeous original watercolor painting of a plasmid. Or, for less than ten bucks, you could just opt for this Neil DeGrasse Tyson science art print (Neil DeGrasse Tyson prayer candles can also be purchased on Etsy, should you ever have need of such an item.)
For the Ebenezer Scrooge of the lab (AKA the PI)
Impress your PI by getting them an attractive drink receptacle to use when they toast their latest grant/paper/tenure. We like these genetic code glasses, hand-etched with bases from the ADH1a gene which encodes an alcohol dehydrogenase – the enzyme responsible for alcohol metabolism.
For the Bob Cratchit of the lab (AKA the postdoc)
The modern postdoc has to perform many roles – researcher, teacher, manager, communicator, equipment-fixing-wizard, to name but a few. Help your beloved postdoc be their multitasking best with a Lab Coat for the 21st Century featuring 16 pockets, suitable for notepads, electronic tablets, and cell phones. Another option is the postdoc gift pack from PhD Comics, containing a copy of The PhD Movie and mug amongst other items.
For the Tiny Tim of the lab (AKA the grad student)
Coffee is the main fuel of the grad student. Upgrade their hideous old chipped mug with a Laboratory Beaker Mug – it looks like a Pyrex beaker, allowing evasion of lab coffee detection by Health & Safety! If tea is more their bag, then look no further than the Chemistry for Two Tea Infuser. A gift membership to the New York Academy of Sciences may also be appreciated.
For the hardcore nerd
You know you are a bona fide science fan when you receive Gallium (metal melts in your hand!) or a miniature Klein bottle (Wikipedia offers you a far better description of this than I ever could). Science!
For your science-phile relatives
Help them find out once and for all where they came from, and whether that family tale about great Uncle Albert being the illegitimate child of Scandinavian royalty really is true, with the 23andme genetic ancestry service. Alternatively, give them a real showstopper of a mantelpiece ornament with a diaphonized chick embryo in a jar. Much better than a carriage clock.
For the Russian oligarch in your life
James Watson’s Nobel medal was this month purchased by a Russian multimillionaire for $4.1million. If this is indicative of a science spending trend among rich Russians, we’d like to suggest that the following gift may be worth exploring: a first edition of What Mad Pursuit signed by Dr Crick himself, for the bargain price of $2,200. Or, for the oligarch desperate to bring back Soviet space dog Laika, a lab in South Korea will clone your dog for $100,000 (yes, OK, so Laika’s remains burned up on reentry, but it’s Christmas, let’s not be so negative.)
For your Secret Santa recipient
For an elegant Secret Santa gift, pick up a copy of Carl Zimmer’s Science Ink – a compilation of photos of science-themed tattoos. Another option under ten dollars is the DIY Blood Typing Test Kit. For $15, bring science magic to the lab Christmas lunch with Miracle Berry Fruit Tablets – they make sour and bitter food taste sweet! Alternatively, go the trashier route and buy your Secret Santa recipient a filthy science-themed t-shirt or pair of undies. You’re welcome. You never know, you too may end up (Mg,Fe)7Si8O22(OH)2. And with that final, barrel-scraping comment, we wish you a successful festive present hunt.
P.S. All the mentioned gifts are collated on a Pinterest board for your perusal.