Gifts for Science Geeks and Nerds

Gift Ideas for Science Types

Nerds and geeks (and chemists, physicists, and engineers) are the most interesting people, possibly because they have the coolest toys. Here's a look at some of the most fun and the geekiest gifts.

Who says you can't keep a live dinosaur as a pet? This dinosaur is a dinosaur-shaped aquarium filled with living dinoflagellates, which are the most awesome creatures on the planet because when you disturb them, they emit bioluminescence (glow in the dark). During the day, the tiny creatures get their energy from ​photosynthesis, so you need sunlight to keep this pet alive. That's much easier than trying to support a live velociraptor!

You know you'd like to brew coffee in the lab, yet it's a little on the unsafe side. At least your coffee can look like it came fresh from the lab. The mug holds 500 ml of your favorite beverage.

We don't think you can actually screw in anything with this screwdriver, but that's not the point. You need this device in order to be an effective Time Lord. If you don't know who Dr. Who is or never the evolution of his screwdriver, you're clearly not a nerd.

Of all the items you could put on your desk or coffee table, this may be the coolest. The Ecosphere is a closed ecosystem which contains shrimp, algae, and microorganisms. You don't have to feed or water these pets. Simply give them light and a comfortable temperature and watch this world thrive on its own.

Yes, you could give a houseplant as a gift, but most nerds would prefer glowing mushrooms. This kit contains everything you need to grow your own brightly-glowing bioluminescent fungi, except a log for them to grow on. You can grow the shrooms in your yard or indoors in a terrarium. We don't recommend putting these mushrooms on a pizza, but they would make an attractive living night light.

A storm glass is a sealed glass bulb containing chemicals that crystallize or otherwise change appearance in response to atmospheric conditions. If you keep track of its responses to weather, you can use it to make forecasts. It's also possible to make your own homemade weather glass to give as a gift.

Here's a practical gift that the typical geek wants, but likely does not yet own. This is a wireless virtual keyboard. A laser projects the keyboard onto any flat surface, with keystrokes recorded by interrupting the beam. It's perfect for a mobile device, plus it looks super cool. 

Can't tear yourself away from that video game or Excel spreadsheet? Don't worry -- your computer's USB port can keep your coffee hot or that Red Bull frosty. What else makes this fridge/heater great? It locks. It's quiet. It has adapters for both home and car. It features twinkling LED lights. It might be hard to give this away as a gift. That's okay. Keep it for yourself.

We have simple instructions for using chemistry to make a homemade perfume, which makes a terrific gift, but a nerd might prefer this kit, which teaches the science of scent and how to construct a pleasing perfume. The age range is for 10+, so it's appropriate for older kids and adults. Thames and Kosmos is a trusted manufacturer of chemistry kits, so you won't be disappointed!