It’s less than a week until Christmas, and you still haven’t found a gift for that special person in your life. No, not your girlfriend or your dad. Oh no, finding an appropriate present for this person is a vastly more formidable task–that’s right, your sciencey friend. We all have one. (If you don’t have one, chances are, it’s you!) And I’m here to help.
So, what can you give these people that they will actually love, or even use? I’ve put together a little list that can point you in the right direction.
The Computer Science Major
Your friend in CS can be tough to relate to at times…I mean, they do speak in different languages, after all. A common trait I’ve observed in computer aficionados is a keen sense of irony. That’s why I chose this “Will Code For Food” mousepad as their first gift. Not only will they find use in it when on their desktop, they’ll also find the self-defeating humor spot-on.
To complement the mousepad, I found two awesome gadgets that plug into a computer’s USB. The USB Thermoelectric Cooler & Warmer is very cool and very useful, albeit potentially dangerous. And the USB Pet Rock, well, is just hysterical.
And last but not least is a gift that could potentially bring you two closer together. It’s a “c-Jump” Programming Board Game, whose directions involve programming commands in the C language. (Pretend it sounds fun for you, too.)
The Chemistry Major
I know you may vomit if you hear about orgo one more time….but bear with your valiant chemistry friends. As a representation of the fact that chem is on their mind all day every day, here’s an Elements Wall Clock with the number 1-12 as the first twelve elements of the Periodic table. They’ll be honored that you recognize just how much time they spend with the elements.
Next, you can help them keep the tradition going by giving them a Caffeine Molecule Mug that’s in the form of a graduated cylinder and has a caffeine molecule printed on it. To be honest, I think most coffee drinkers would love this.
Third, my favorite gift and likely to be theirs too- a giant Great Candy Chemistry Set that lets you practice chem while MAKING CANDY. Learn about the specific heat of chocolate and why sugar crystals form rock candy. Best science kit I’ve seen.
The Physics Major
Alright, this one hits a little close to home, so I really tried to pick the best gifts for the physics gurus. The first gift is Marble Mania Galaxy, a giant marble jungle-gym type thing that lets your physics-y friend explore the mechanical relationships they’ve come to love while bringing out the kid inside that we know every physicist has. Not only does it contain tons of contraptions, it also glows in the dark.
The next gift is for those physicists who have a bit of a cuddly side. This fantastic website will sell you any subatomic particle that your friend can think of…in stuffed animal form. You know they already dream of strange quarks, might as well facilitate the process.
If your friend isn’t that playful, there’s a great chance he or she is that stereotypical physicist who is a bit out of touch with everyday life. In that case, give your friend a present that will make those bothersome everyday decisions while he or she is off unraveling the secrets of the universe. Like a Magic 8 Ball for the fan of quantum mechanics, the box shows a cat that’s either alive or dead whenever you open it: Schrodinger’s Cat Decision Maker.
The Astronomy Major
Okay okay, we may not have this major at BC, but we do have an Environmental Geoscience major which is fairly close. I thought these folks should be included. Not only do they study the coolest stuff, their gift ideas are…well…out of this world. Take the Fridge Rover, for example. Help your friend turn their friend into a mock lunar surface with this little buggy that defies gravity and crawls all over.
Looking for something a bit grander? I’d suggest the Sunspotter. It’s a telescope kinda thing, but specifically for the sun. It actually projects an image of the sun’s surface onto a white screen, sunspots and all, so your friend can experience a different and somehow more personal of star gazing.
The Biology Major
You may be overwhelmed by the thought of buying a gift for your bio friend, because the science itself is so broad! Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. For your microbiologist friend, we’ve got a Magic School Bus-themed germ kit. Watch your friend leap with joy as they grow bacteria and fungi and test antibiotics.
If your friend is more of an environmental biologist, perhaps an EcoSphere is more fitting. These mesmerizing little environments are completely self-sustainable and make a perfect addition to a scientist’s study (or dorm.)
Maybe neither of these fit and your friend is more into anatomy, perhaps even pre-med. Either way, this Build Your Own Proteins set brings those ball-and-stick molecules to a whole other level. Not only will they be fun to assemble, they’ll be even more fun to display, or to point to while your friend tries to teach you how DNA transcription works.
The Math Major
Okay okay, before you tell me math isn’t science–it’s close enough, in my opinion. Your mathy friends need some love and presents too! Not to mention that mathematics is home to some of the best puns out there. That’s the inspiration for my first gift choice. I don’t want to give this one away, you need to look for yourself. If your friend isn’t into puns and would prefer something more traditional, plain old equations make great tshirt designs too.
Next, onto something more practical. How often has your mathy friend asked you for an extra piece of paper because they use so much of it? You know, writing out proofs of matrix invertibility and and that the number 15 exists. Fret no more- you can buy them a foldable, portable pocket whiteboard! It’s perfect for practice problems, studying, and–who are we kidding–doodles.
If that doesn’t do the trick, you can try this last one. Nobody wants to be that guy who buys their math friend a calculator, but I swear, this one rocks. Who needs one of those 300 dollar TI monster calculators when you have this fun little guy to help with some quick long division?
For Any Science Major
Once your science friends are happy about with their presents, sit down with all of them and play a round of the Art of Science Trivia Game, the self-dubbed most difficult trivia game there is. It might sound like a few hours of pure hell, but you’d be giving your friends the biggest gift of all: allowing them to share what they love with you. (And also to show off how much smarter they are than you… they tend to like that too.)