3-D printer

A 3-D printer is the ultimate gift for the do-it-yourself-er/maker/tinkerer/inventor/problem solver. Or, with plenty of open source recipes for just about anything, you could go ahead and buy yourself one and just print your loved ones’ gifts instead. (Starts at $1,300)

Bored games

What better way to pass the dreary days of winter but hunched over a board game invoking the spirit of Galileo or Isaac Newton. In The New Science, players compete “to publish your remarkable scientific discoveries first in order to gain prestige, be seen as the finest mind of your era, and consequently be appointed the first President of the Royal Society.” If publishing competitions don't sound like a leisure activity, try Compounded, in which players compete to build molecules. ($50 and $35, respectively)

Laugh it off

For the seventh-year graduate student, the PhD Calendar, “Another year in grad school,” might lift...

Small scientists

There are a plethora of science kits for little ones with an interest in experimenting. The My First Mind Blowing Science kit gets to the fun of bench work—kids can erupt a colorful volcano, create “jiggly crystals,” and more. (Starts at $15)

Bugs on paper

Painter Julie Rauer invokes science and nature in her gorgeous, wispy watercolor paintings. According to her website, Rauer creates “compound imagery, whose genesis reflects the relentless uncertainty and rigorous experimentation necessary to evoke ever shifting intellectual landscapes of scientific processes.” Entomologists in particular will appreciate her pieces that focus on insects. (Starts at $1,500)

World’s hottest pepper

The neurophysiologist interested in the power of capsaicin can test its power—perhaps in homemade salsa brought to the lab Christmas party—by growing her own “world's hottest pepper” plant. The Trinidad Scorpion Pepper rates 1.4 million on the Scoville Heat Scale—apparently that’s really, really hot. ($21)


Kitchen science

As the go-to gift when you can’t think of anything else, the cookbook is a popular holiday purchase. Cooking for Geeks adds science to the culinary arts. “Use and abuse this science to make your cooking more awesome.” ($35)

Do-it-yourself tracking

For the scientist who can't get enough of data collection or the narcissist who can’t get enough of himself, there are plenty of self-tracking devices to quantify every bit of the body’s activities, from sleep patterns to heart rate. One group has developed a do-it-yourself (DIY) version of the self-tracker that can be customized. (Starts at $204)

If you really love science

Fans of the ultimate science fan blog, I Fucking Love Science (IFLS), can wear their devotion on their sleeves with logo T-shirts. For the cuss-word squeamish, Zazzle has the G-rated version, “Science is Awesome.” For full disclosure, IFLS is affiliated with The Scientist’s owner, LabX Media Group. (Starts at $20)


Thumbnail image credit: Wikimedia, ProjectManhattan

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