Meteorites, microscopes, or mixing things to go boom. Your science nerd loves it all. Here are a couple of gift ideas for that space explorer, mad scientist, or engineer in your life.
BTW, if you hate the gallery format as much as the Grinch hated Christmas, click here.
Lego: It's not really a secret that Lego building blocks are widely loved. They're perfect for any age, but a particularly fun gift for an engineering or physics nerd who lacks some brightly-colored fun. Whether you go for a Millennium Falcon, a Mindstorms NXT robot set, or a smaller kit, just be sure your beloved recipient has time for construction. If you've got a younger nerd-in-the-making, check out programs like Dean Kamen's FIRST, which encourages learning and development of science, math, and technology through hands-on activities (many of which are Lego-based). Prices vary widely [Lego; Image Source]
BuckyBalls: 216 pellet-shaped rare earth magnets may scream "physics lesson," but in reality they're a jar full of fun. Your science nut can construct all sorts of 3D shapes for hours of mindless—or extremely brain-intensive—entertainment. And should he ever manage to get bored with the balls, he can just use them for one heck of a refrigerator magnet collection. $30 Link; Busted Tees]
DON'T BUY A Star: I don't know how you could imagine that getting someone a sheet of paper proclaiming that you've named a star after her is a clever idea. It's a scam to begin with and even the most thoughtless gift certificate would be a better idea (and won't leave you stuttering that you thought she "likes space and umm..stuff").
Photo by jared
I've never seen a stocking that didn't like being filled with a bit of awkward science-themed, cotton-based humor and somehow science nerds in particular have a soft spot for geeky shirts. You can head to ThinkGeek, Threadless, and Snorg Tees if you're looking for some of the shirts we've mentioned in the past—my personal favorite is still the ingredient shirt. $19 [Snorg Tees]
Chemistry Experiment Kit:This one's more geared to the younger lab rats, but no science nerd should miss out on a proper chemistry set. This C3000 set is a nice splurge, and even guides you through building a DIY fire extinguisher for when experiments go wrong, but you can certainly go for a smaller kit or even put one together on your own. $230 [Scientifics]
Casio EX-FC100: Science types want to document the entire world in pictures and video. Thanks to technological advancements, falling prices and MythBusters, highspeed slow-mo photography has carved out a nerdy niche in recent years. Casio's EX-FC100 may not be an EX-F1, but it's nice and small and has most of that slow mo covered, plus some nice nature-watcher tricks in still shooting, too. Despite the fact that still picture quality isn't as high as a similarly sized Canon, the FC100's set of unique talents make it a worthwhile toy for active observers of the physical world. $226 [Review; Amazon]
Giant Plush Microbes: If you're in need of a stocking stuffer for a biology nerd, these plush microbes are a sure thing. They're cute (just look at syphilis!) and add a bit of silliness to many all-too-serious subjects. $12 [Think Geek]
Processing Time on a Supercomputer: If you've got a mad, crazy, number-crunching, super science nerd on your hands—along with your own pretty thick wallet—then you can go through a company like Exa and get them some quiet time with a supercomputer. Your nerd will be able to run her insane calculations using high-performance computing and save quite a bit of time, so be sure to have some hot chocolate for two ready for a calm evening after. Prices vary, but they're gonna clean out your pockets [Exa]
Photo by Argonne National Laboratory
Don't forget to recommend your own favorite gift ideas for science nerds in comments—include pic and pricing if possible.
All Giz Wants is our annual round-up of favorite gift ideas, including amazing attainable objects and a few far-out fantasies. We'll be popping guides catered to different interests several times per day for the next week, so keep checking back.