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.
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-coloured 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. 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. $US30 [Gizmodo; 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 humour 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 favourite is still the ingredient shirt. $US19 [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. $US230 [Scientifics]
Casio EX-FC100: Science types want to document the entire world in pictures and video. Thanks to technological advancements, falling prices and MythBusters, high-speed 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. $US226 [Review; Casio Exilim]
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. $US12 [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 favourite gift ideas for science nerds in the comments.
All Giz Wants is our annual round-up of favourite 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.