With the holidays gearing up, it’s time to prepare for some winter revelry, and to find the right gifts for science-minded friends and family.
Whether you and yours are into microbes, molecules, brains, or blood, here are a few gifts to celebrate the season with science.
With the rapid-fire discoveries currently being made in gene-editing and genomic databases, DNA is definitely in fashion. So why not wear proudly your love for the double helix? Perhaps a necklace or earrings of the chemical backbone of life, or a ring of gold and sterling silver. Not into that? Then maybe a DNA belt buckle, money clip, or key chain is more your style.
Or, for a more functional genetic gift, you could offer your loved ones a safe place to keep their genetic code with a personal DNA vault from GENiSYSS. The thumb drive-type device holds genetic material in a tiny blood droplet, along with a digital copy of the sequenced genome and uploaded files. Three sizes offer DNA and personal information storage for an adult, a child, or an entire family.
For the hematologist, phlebotomist, or vampire on your gift list, check out these blood vessel wine decanters. Veins and arteries take shape in hand-blown glass, and each decanter holds a full bottle of your favorite wine. (Of course, they are most striking when filled with a classic red.)
And to make those conversations over cocktails or coffee a bit smarter, brainiacs would appreciate these brain coasters. Each of the 10 offers a detailed reproduction of a different horizontal slice of the brain. Stack the coasters together, and the slices come together into one 3-D brain image.
Is someone on your list longing to create super-creamy mashed potatoes or ginger and carrots that look like caviar? Give that mad scientist/chef this molecular gastronomy kit and let them cook up creations including cubed honey, finely powdered Parmesan, and foamed meat sauces. The kit includes pipettes and silicone tubes along with a DVD of recipes bound to make dinner a lot more interesting.
And for dessert, enjoy the sweet deliciousness of lungs, hearts, and kidneys. CambridgeChocolates turns Belgian and milk chocolate into melt-in-your-mouth lollipops in the shapes of internal organs — perfect for the chocoholic with a nerdy bent.
If you love someone who really loves microorganisms, the Amazing Bacteria Science Kit may be just the thing. Petri dishes prefilled with agar along with cotton-tipped swabs come ready for use. All you need is the desire to swab every conceivable surface — body parts, tabletops, the cat, you name it. Touch the swab to the agar and find out what lives around you.
Or, let the amateur biologists in your life get a closer look at things slightly larger than bacteria — think insects, skin, or foods in your fridge — with Carson’s portable microscope. Mount it on a smartphone and conveniently examine and photograph the microscopic world.