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Shopping for science lovers can feel like visiting a distant planet if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. But whether you’re in the market for a small nod to a scientific hobby, an educational tool, or just a fun gadget, our gift guide for science lovers includes a variety of suggestions for creative, engaging gifts for everyone from the serious stargazers to amateur STEM enthusiasts in your life.
1. A Nautilus Subscription
$9.99 per month, $59 per year, or $89 per year plus six collectible print issues
Nautilus is a different kind of science magazine. Their stories dip into the fields of anthropology, geology, and paleontology, as well as biology, astronomy, genetics, and physics. When science ventures into arts and culture, Nautilus follows. Send the science lover in your life a subscription this holiday season to keep the fire for knowledge burning all year round.
A monthly digital membership will run you $9.99 and an annual membership saves you 50% at just $59 for the year—but tack on 6 gorgeous collectible print issues to the annual digital membership for an extra $30.
Plus, every membership donates a FREE digital subscription to a student or school in need!
2. This Book is a Planetarium
This wildly unique interactive book is, as the title suggests, a working planetarium that can project constellations on the ceilings—but the fun doesn’t stop there. It also functions as a musical instrument, a geometric drawing generator, an infinite calendar, a message decoder, and a sound amplifier, with the intent of teaching both adults and kids about various scientific principles. That’s right, despite being a “pop-up” book, in a certain sense, this doozy of an educational tool manages to be informative and exciting for people of all ages.
3. ‘Science is Magic’ T-Shirt
Magic might be all the rage in fiction, but science is the real deal—and each new major advancement often feels like something right out of the cleverest fiction, anyway. Any science devotee will appreciate the chance to signify their appreciation for the field that sparks wonder in the real world every day.
4. Handheld Digital Microscope
A handheld digital microscope makes taking a closer look at anything from coins to nature to other live specimens a breeze. Boasting up to 120X magnification, this particular model includes LEDs to brighten up the viewing area along with the ability to capture and store images on an external microSD card.
5. Swinging Sticks Kinetix Energy Sculpture
Kinetic energy never ceases to be a source of intrigue, and this weird, abstract swinging stick sculpture takes full advantage of that. Designed to continuously stay in motion without appearing repetitive or predictable, this work of art will provide an entertaining and creative addition to any room.
6. Color Changing Solar System Mug
Color-changing mugs never get tiresome, and this one gradually transforms from a starry night sky to an exploration of our solar system with just the pour of a hot beverage. And yes, Pluto is still included.
7. The Geeky Bartender
Regular cocktails will seem boring after indulging in this sci-fi/fantasy-centric bartending book that offers up recipes based on popular fiction. Fandoms from Star Trek to Doctor Who to Final Fantasy are represented here, so get ready to be sipping on Tatooine Sunsets for the foreseeable after you gift this creative melding of geekdom and mixology to some lucky nerd.
8. Particle Physics Playing Cards
Regular playing cards are such a bore; shake things up with this deck of particle physics cards instead! Each card features a different sub-atomic particle, along with some handy educational info for those who like mixing education and entertainment.
Alternately, check out this deck of scientists cards if that’s more suited to your loved one’s Curie-osity!
9. Chart of Electromagnetic Radiations
This creative and colorful art piece features a wide array of information about various electromagnetic radiations, ranging from broadcast radio waves to comic rays to radio spectrums. It was initially designed in 1944, giving it a vintage feel that adds character to the education and ode to some of our most important discoveries.
10. Beginner’s Telescope
This award-winning telescope is intended for beginners new to exploring the night sky, but it’s far from a toy. It has a usable magnification of up to 189X and comes with both 25mm and 10mm eyepieces, as well as a 2X Barlow lens. Also included are a GPS, gyroscope, tripod, and an app that helps with identification. Best of all, it’s easy to use for all ages and experience levels.
11. Science! Magnet
If you’re shopping for a gift for a science lover but can’t be bothered to dive in too deep yourself, this cutely chaotic magnet is an enjoyable nod to the broader discipline for anyone with a sense of humor.
12. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World
Everyone learns about Einstein and Edison in school, but female scientists have contributed just as much to the advancement of society over the years. Celebrate those achievements with the help of this popular book touching on the lives of 50 women in science—something that can serve as inspiration and education for girls and boys alike.
13. The Wearable Reading Light
Any avid reader can appreciate the challenge of finding proper illumination in a dark space. When lamps don’t cut it, this wearable reading light provides a directional glow strong enough to light up the page, but not so strong that it will disturb others in the room. It comes with three different levels of brightness, and the ability to switch between cold and warm lighting to reduce eye strain.
14. Nantan Meteorite Fragment
How many people can say they own an actual piece of a meteor? This collector’s display features a piece of the Nantan meteor, discovered in Guangxi, China, in 1958—although it is believed to have struck Earth back in the 1500s. A tribute to both science and history, this fragment is a unique gift for any lover of space.
15. ClicBot Coding Robot Kit
Getting into coding by programming robots is one of the most exciting introductions to the field. These ClicBot Coding Robot Kits offer a modular design so new parts can be added as the owner’s coding abilities and interests grow. The 5G Starter Kit is ideal for beginners and has a low barrier to entry, allowing users to play and gradually learn more about programming automation of their own.
16. Chemistry Flask Tumbler
Mixing up your beakers with your Starbucks latte could be a dangerous mishap, but drinking out of this adorable 500mL tumbler designed to look like a chemistry flask is perfectly safe—just keep the liquids free of experimentation!
17. Floating Globe
The earth is an incredible thing, as this floating globe reminds us. In addition to being a functioning, accurate globe, it stays suspended in the air thanks to its interaction with its magnetic base. And it can spin, too!
While the gold design with a faux book base makes for incredible detail, a stylishly modern option also pops in at a lower price point with some LED lighting included.
18. Atom Joke Socks
Socks aren’t always the most exciting gifts to receive, but this brightly-colored novelty pair will have every dad laughing and kicking up his feet to share the silly joke at the bottom. “Never trust an atom,” it reads. “They make up everything.” Go ahead and cue the chorus of groans now.
19. Sky Lite Star Projector
There’s a reason galaxy projectors have become so popular—mimicking the aesthetic of the night sky inside a home is an easy and affordable way to both add visual interest to a space and help city dwellers remember what being outside even feels like. This particular model projects drifting stars onto the wall and ceiling, and also has the option of utilizing the app to cycle through light effects and adjust the brightness.
20. Darwin ‘Tree of Life’ Print
This one may be a bit of a deep cut, but Charles Darwin enthusiasts would be proud to display a copy of the man’s first known sketch—an evolutionary tree over which he wrote the words “I think.”
21. Personalized Brass Compass
Smartphones may all be equipped with GPS and digital compasses these days, but there’s still something novel about holding a real compass in your hand—even if it’s just for fun. As a bonus, this brass compass can be engraved with a message to your loved one and includes an optional leather case.
22. Lightning in a Bottle
They say it can’t be captured, yet here it is! This display features fulgurite, also known as “fossilized lightning.” Really, these are tubes formed out of sand from Morocco that melted after being struck by lightning — but just calling it lightning in a bottle sounds way more impressive, anyway.
23. The Illustrated Brief History of Time
Stephen Hawking’s 1996 edition of The Illustrated Brief History of Time is great for anyone with a healthy curiosity and thirst for knowledge about our universe and the research Hawking did in his lifetime. It also includes more than 240 illustrations and satellite images to help explain some of the more complicated concepts, and provides a great jumping off point for anyone gearing up to dive into the world of physics.