Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas 2007 Science and discovery gift ideas for adults

When looking for a science and discovery gift for an adult it can be very difficult to know what to get. Most of the kits available are for kids and teens. Usually the person you are buying for already has some ideas or experience in the area of science they like. You don’t want to be giving them something just because it fits in that area, you want to make sure it is something they will enjoy. I have created a list of Christmas 2007 science and discovery gift ideas for adults.

If someone works in the science field they probably already have what they need or want in that area. If you are looking for a gift for them it is best to ask them what they want. They are going to want something very specific or something in a different field then they work in. Then there are those of us who don’t make their living in a science field, but enjoy areas of science. I know that I would love to learn more about what CSI’s do. My husband is very interested in space exploration and fuel cell technology. You don’t have to even like or understand science to be drawn to areas that revolve around science. I was looking around for Christmas gifts for people who enjoy science and found that there are a lot of very cool gift ideas out there. I found so many of the science kits that I want to try are actually made for kids. I am OK with that, they are designed to captures peoples interest and teach at the same time. I am just glad I have kids so I can buy the kits for them and I get to play with them too. Here are what I think are some of the best science and discovery gift ideas for adults available.

Clothing can be fun and scientific at the same time. I have put t-shirts here, though I did find hoodies, tank tops, jackets and hats available.

The Periodic Table T-Shirt. The 7-color Periodic Table black t-shirt is made from 100% cotton and glows-in-the-dark. This shirt is $16.95 at

Generic humanoid carbon unit T-shirt. It is a Black 100% heavyweight, pre-shrunk, cotton t-shirt with slate blue ink. The Icons for Generic Humanoid Carbon Unit as well as the phrase itself sits neatly centered on the shirt. This shirt is $16.99 at

Heavy Metal T-shirt. It is a 100% cotton heavyweight black tee with white and red depictions of 11 heavy metals from copper to bismuth doodled in the style of a 16-year-old metalhead. This is a great T-shirt. It is $16.99 at

Caffeine Molecule and Capsaicin Molecule T-shirts. The caffeine molecule is printed in lime green on a navy shirt. The capsaicin molecule is printed in bright red on a maroon shirt. Both can be found for $14.99 at I have put both of these on my Christmas wish list, as I love both coffee and spicy hot peppers.

Chocolate molecule ladies t-shirt. The Theobromine molecule is printed in magenta on a dark chocolate colored shirt and it is $17.99 at

"Actually, I AM a Rocket Scientist" T-Shirt is $19.95 at

Just for fun science gifts:

Ball of Whacks Created by Roger von Oech. The Ball of Whacks consists of 30 magnetic design blocks that can be rearranged into many shapes. The Ball of Whacks comes with a 96-page illustrated creativity guidebook that provides you with tips, stories, exercises, and insights into the creative process. Each individual piece of the Ball of Whacks is a "golden ratio" rhombic pyramid. Held in place by 180 rare earth magnets, these design blocks fit together to form a perfect 30-sided rhombic triacontahedron, geometry's most beautiful shape. This is $25.95 at

Pet Tornado. This is a small desk toy approximately 5 inches tall, 1.5 inches in diameter. Shake the Pet Tornado clockwise and watch the mini tornado funnel form. It makes a nice stocking stuffer. It is $4.95 at

Mini Plasma Ball. This is a great stocking stuffer. The plasma light responds to your touch and to the music in the room. Place your hand on its smooth glass surface. The unchained lightning is drawn to your touch. It gathers harmlessly about your palm and fingers, creating beutiful swirling formations that follow your ever move. It reacts to music and your voice. Tune it to respond to sound and it actually reacts to music with rhythmical flashes of lightning. You can even talk to it and see the patterns of your voice reflected in its striking pulsations. This is $12.95 at

Einstein Tongue Mug. It is a ceramic mug with a picture of Einstein sticking his tongue out. It is $9.95 at

Newtons Cradle. This can be addictive. You get one or two balls swinging and one or two balls on the other side swing out and then back in starting it all over again. Newton's cradle or balance balls is one of the oldest, most interesting physics toys that demonstrate the laws of conservation of energy and momentum. This is $9.95 at

Ammonite Fossil. This is an actual fossil. Ammonites are one of the most widely known fossils, possessing a ribbed spiral-form shell. They belong to a group of predators known as cephalopods, which includes living relatives such as the octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus. These creatures lived in the seas between 240 - 65 million years ago, when they became extinct along with the dinosaurs. This is $12.95 at


Robots. With shows and movies like Lost is space, Star Wars, Star Trek the next generation with Data, Robotech, Transformers, and Gobots who as a kid did not wish they could have a robot? Now we can make our own. There are a lot of robot kits available right now; I tried to find ones that are designed for adults.

Cybug - A Living Robot. This one is programmed to act like a living organism, with behaviors and instincts built into its circuitry - so there's no need for programming or a microprocessor. It's instructional, a challenge to build, and fun to modify and customize. This kit is $49.95 at

Bioloid Humanoid Robotics Kit. The Bioloid can be configured as the default human form, or assembled into any one of dozens of different robotic creatures. 18 servos, a full motion editor and visual programming environment allow a teen to make the Bioloid interact with it's surroundings while performing complex movements that put other toy robots to shame. The Bioloid comes with several example programs to make it walk, avoid obstacles and interact with sound. The sensor module in the head of the robot features an IrDA receiver (for communicating with other robots via infrared), three proximity sensors (left, right and front) that can measure distance and luminosity, a microphone for sound detection and a piezo-electric speaker that can be used to play musical scales or generate simple beeping sounds. Robot can be programmed custom movements and behavior logic. This kit is $899.99 at

Ultimate Robot Kit All you need to make 5 amazing robots. Ultimate Robot Kit comes with everything you need to build four robots: from plastic gears to a power pod, from cardboard frames to instruction cards with detailed photographs. Once you’ve mastered the BounceBot, CreepycrawlyBot, KnotBot and Gobblebot, use the extra pieces and create a fifth robot of your own design. This kit is $29.95 at

Cars with alternative fuel kits. As gas prices go up I know we are all interested in finding out more about different energy sources. Besides cars are still just to make and play with (I mean experiment with) no matter what our ages.

Intelligent Fuel Cell Car. The Car Kit Manual features experiments and background information to help your teen explore the history and future of emerging fuel cell technology. The Intelligent Fuel Cell Car is powered by the PEM Reversible Fuel Cell, which safely converts the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy. The clear plastic "intelligent" car backs up and turns 90 degrees when it hits a barrier. This kit is $79.95 at

Elenco Photon Solar Racer Kit. This is such a cool kit. It is a toy race car that runs on solar power. Teens get to build it and learn about solar energy and how to convert it to useful applications, or at least fun ones. No soldering, no batteries needed for the science kit. Comes with high-energy solar panel. The solar car comes in clear plastic. The car can be painted any color scheme that you desire (paint is not supplied). The body of Photon is even made from recycled pop bottles. This kit is $31.95 at

OWI Robots Amphibious Solar Vehicle kit. It is a toy vehicle that works on land and on water and uses solar power. As a teen builds this vehicle they will be learning what materials solar batteries are made from and the characteristics of solar batteries, advantages, and disadvantages of solar power and robotics. This is a non-soldering robot building kit recommended for beginners. No batteries required, it's solar powered and the solar cell is included. Screwdriver and pliers are required for assembly. This kit is $38.95 at

Make your own Hologram Kit.
Design a Hologram Kit. I have been watching as holograms have gone from a sci-fi idea to a reality. This kit lets you make up to 202”X 3” beautiful static holograms. Each film plate is a self-developing. The kit goes together quickly and easily, and exposure time for each film plate is about 10 minutes. Each hologram will need to be put back in the rig to be viewed. You also get complete manufacturer technical support. This kit is $139.99 at

Computer Systems Engineering Kit
Microcontroller Kit - Computer Systems Engineering Kit
Microcontrollers -- small, self-contained computers -- are the "brains" inside dozens of the devices and appliances in your home. Microwaves, washing machines, telephones, and stereos all have microcontrollers inside them. A microcontroller is a computer-on-a-microchip, and includes a processor, memory for storing data, timers, and ports for connecting to other components. As our everyday devices become increasingly "smart" with embedded technology, microcontrollers are becoming more and more important.
This kit introduces you to microcontrollers, sensors, and programming through 100 experiments. Build devices that use sensors to monitor and record data, and use the data to control motors, buzzers, lights, and a digital display. Write programs to control the devices you build. For example, you can build a light meter using a light dependent resistor and record the light levels in a room over a 12-hour period. Or measure and record the temperature outside with a temperature sensor, then graph the results. The number of possible experiments is infinite. This is $139.95 at

Kits designed for kids look so interesting and fun. It does say 8 and up so they are designed for beginners, no matter what their age.

Make your own bubble gum kit. Learn how bubble gum is made, and what it is made of and try the gum experiments. This can be a lot of fun. I found two kits that are great and both are $12.95.
Bubble Gum Kit. The kit is at
Scientific Explorer Bubble Gum Fun. This kit is at

Scientific Explorer Ice Cream Science. Make ice cream using science and a T-shirt. This is a fun and tasty gift. This kit is $17.95 at

Creative Cosmetics - The Science of Skin Care. This is all about learning what is in skin care products and what they actually do. Learn about basic dermatology and the chemistry of oils, gels and lotions. Then make some skin care products as experiments. Also learn how skin care products are applied as well as the hygiene and safety necessary for proper skin care. The kit includes seventeen different cosmetics base substances to make personalized makeup, lip gloss, body lotion, face cream and shower gel. This kit is $54.95 at and $54.99 at

Perfume Science Experiment Kit - Thames and Kosmos. This is a great gift that lets people design and develop their own personal perfume, learning the biology, chemistry and techniques to make fragrances. This kit can is $59.95 at and $54.95 at

Scientific Explorer French Spa Body Lotion – Learn about what is in French body lotions, and use chemistry to create their own designs. This kit is $17.95 at

Science Books and DVD’s:

MythBusters: Don't Try This at Home! Book. MythBusters is a great show, and even though they do not do their experiments in the traditional laboratory setting or methods it is still about science. If the book is anything like the show it will be a hit. Each chapter tackles a different myth, urban legend, or wives tale and gives an experiment you can do that's related to the topic. There's also BrainBusters true and false quiz for each chapter cool facts about stuff. This book is $12.99 at

Crime Scene. Learn how evidence from a crime scene is magnified, run through machines, separated into parts, and examined with x-rays and lasers as computer experts, forensic botanists, artists, microbiologists, dentists, forensic anthropologists, and chemists work to catch crooks, killers, counterfeiters, and computer hackers. Then hone your own reasoning skills to solve crimes from police case files. I am a CSI fan and think that this book would be great for any one who is a fan of the shows. This is for any CSI wanabe, like me. This book is $15.84 at

The Great Robot Race NOVA DVD. Twenty-three bizarre looking vehicles line up at the starting gate of the DARPA Grand Challenge with one thing in common: there’s nobody behind the wheel. Sponsored by the Pentagon’s research agency, this race for robotic, driverless vehicles has a $2 million prize. Its ultimate goal is to gather new ideas for the future of unmanned warfare. These vehicles are armed with cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence, laser-guided vision, GPS navigation, and 3-D mapping systems. Can the world’s most advanced robots overcome a grueling, 130-mile stretch of Nevada's scorching desert terrain? NOVA follows the competing engineering teams as they deal with the glitches, system crashes, and tight deadlines that threaten to derail them at every turn. NOVA’s cameras capture the race’s technical challenges, hilarious pitfalls, and a final twist as a surprise contender comes up from behind to steal the race.
This DVD is $18.95 at

Lightning NOVA DVD. Join the scientists as they tempt nature by creating the world's tallest lightning rod, a wire leading thousands of feet into storm clouds, which triggers awe-inspiring thunderbolts a few hundred feet from the observers and creates a chunk of "petrified" lightning. This DVD is $18.95 at

Space: It is hard not to be fascinated with what is out there. Some people like to look at the stars, or want to know all about the planets, and others dream of traveling to space and other planets. We grew up with shows like Lost in space, Star Wars, Star Trek, and many movies and books about space and what is out there. Things that were only ideas in books, movies and TV shows are a reality today. Space stations are being built in our lifetime.

Star Pocket Accurate pocket size star finder helps to identify 70 constellations and 42 main stars. This kit includes the Star Pocket viewer with built-in red light, 2 starmaps, one for each hemisphere, 4 latitude attachments, a built-in compass, a protective sleeve and an instruction booklet. This is a gift for a beginner astronomer. This kit is $29.95 at

Telescope Digital Photo Adapter Attach your digital camera to most telescopes and spotting scopes and take digital photos. This is $19.95 at

The Elegant Universe NOVA 2 DVD Set
It's the holy grail of physics, the search for ultimate law and order in the universe. And in the last few years, excitement has grown among scientists as they've pursued a revolutionary new approach to unifying nature's forces. It's called string theory and, to the uninitiated, it's totally mind-boggling. But physicist Brian Greene has a rare gift for conveying physics in vivid everyday images, a gift that has turned his recent book The Elegant Universe into a mighty bestseller, and now Greene brings his talent and vitality to this documentary. This DVD is $18.95 at

Games: Most of us still enjoy playing games and these games are designed to get us thinking.

IQ Challenge Game Build up your Brain Power. This is a game for one or more players. This pack has over a 100 of the best, brilliantly befuddling, brain bamboozling, lateral thinking puzzles in the world. Every lateral thinking puzzle is rated for difficulty, the rating determines your score if you solve it. Answer before the time runs out and you may get to answer a bonus lateral-thinking puzzle question. This game is $14.95 at

Cool Gadget:
13W Briefcase Solar Generator This is a 13-Watts portable solar generator. Works great as a portable power supply when traveling, boating, camping, etc. It produces 13 Watts of power at max 17.5 Volts. Comes with three detachable connectors: alligator battery clamps, male cigarette lighter plug and female cigarette lighter plug. Use it with any device that comes with a car cigarette lighter plug, such as: portable coolers, heaters, computer power supply, laptop and phone chargers, GPS devices, etc. This is $149.95 at

Portable Scale. 225g x 0.1g Postal Hanging Digital Scale is perfect for Chemistry students and teachers. $12.95

Microscope accessory:
Konus 1.3MB USB Microscope Eyepiece. This computer video set enables you to view microscope or telescope images on your Windows compatible PC. It fits in the eyepiece holder of any standard microscope or refractor and Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes (other telescopes require adapter which is available separately.) You can view image in real-time and capture static images in high-quality resolution (1.3 mega pixel) and color. This is $279.95 at

The person you are shopping for is seriously into science you may not want to give them a kit. Instead have them go to a web site like ScienceLab, It is a source for laboratory equipment, specialty chemicals and science educational products. They have a wide range of products in chemicals and reagents, pH meters, laboratory scales, refractometers, microscopes, laboratory glassware and many other scientific supplies. This way they can make up a wish list of what they actually want or need.

Written by: Lori-Lee Craig
Medieval Magic

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