Riveting reads

Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a good book, such as Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by ethologist Frans de Waal, a look at how primates and other creatures show more than just instinctual responses. Other recommended reads include The Ice at the End of the World by Jon Gertner and Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez. 

Fluffy plush

Founded by illustrator Wendy Bryan Lazar, I Heart Guts offers adorable plushies resembling a variety of internal organs, from brains and lungs to ovaries and thyroids. These soft, stuffed toys are great gifts for medical students, physicians, patients recovering from surgery, or anyone else who would appreciate a smiling, anatomically correct organ. Most plushies are $19.99, although a gigantic heart is also available for $125.00.


If you’re looking for unique handcrafted items, try a science-themed Etsy shop. These silver brain earrings from Delftia are $50.00, and they’re also available in gold for $57.00. The shop also sells other sciency earrings and necklaces featuring neurons, molecules, and a phylogenetic tree.

Coding bot

Meet Botley, the coding robot. Designed for children five years old and up, Botley can help youngsters learn to code without the use of a computer, making it a great screen-free option. The robot can detect and avoid objects, follow paths, and navigate obstacle courses. It comes with a remote programmer, detachable arms, coding cards, and obstacle-building pieces. This 77-piece set is available from $44.99.

Origin of life ornament

Check out this festive DNA snowflake from the shop NestledPineWoodworks on Etsy that specializes in intricately-carved wooden ornaments. It’s available for $16.95 and comes with a ribbon for hanging. Many other science-related decorations, such as a neuron, a microscope, and a custom name ornament made from periodic table letters, are also available from the seller.

Support young scientists


Help promote diversity in science by donating to an organization committed to fostering success in underrepresented groups, such as the National Girls Collaborative Project, which encourages girls to pursue careers in STEM, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, which provides support in college and beyond, or the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, which awards scholarships to engineering students. (The Scientist cannot vouch for these organizations, so, as always, do your research before donating to charity.)

Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at emakowski@the-scientist.com.

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