Christmas lights are up, menorah lights are flickering and far too many of us are scrambling for last minute gift ideas. If you've got a science lover on your hands, here are a few suggestions for STEM-related presents with an artsy, S'Lush-style twist.
FOR THE KIDDO: SCIENCE & LIT
Rachel Poliquin over at Science Friday has recommended "Five Books Guaranteed to Make Kids Love Science." I'm betting these inventive picture books will be just as enticing to the parents who purchase them.
- Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, by Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman (Flying Eye Books): "Both modern in its scientific spirit and with a sensibility modeled after the delightful mid-century children’s books from the Golden Age of space exploration, it tickles young readers — as well as their space-enchanted parents — into precisely that “palpable zest to make contact with the cosmos." (Brain Pickings)
- Shackleton’s Journey, by William Grill (Flying Eye Books). One of the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of 2014. "This is a book that will appeal to adult art lovers, picture book fans and history buffs (of which, I fall into all three categories), children and adult alike. The book’s large format gives ample space for detailed colored pencil illustrations and the perfect pacing for such a fascinating journey." (The Eric Carle Museum)
- Animalium (Welcome to the Museum), by Katie Scott and Jenny Broom (Candlewick Press): "Designed to mimic the experience of visiting a natural history museum, this elegant, eye-catching volume explores the animal kingdom through gorgeously detailed pen-and-ink illustrations that resemble vintage taxonomical plates. ... It’s easy to imagine these exquisite images hanging in the gilded hallways of a museum, but unlike a museum, readers can take this experience along with them." (Publisher's Weekly review)
- Infographics: Human Body, by Peter Grundy and Simon Rogers (Candlewick Press): Complex facts about the human body are reinterpreted as stylish infographics, which astonish, amuse and inform by turn. Researched by the Guardian's Datablog expert and designed by the father of infographics, Peter Grundy. (Amazon description)
- The Worm, by Elise Gravel (Tundra Books): The second in a series of humorous books about disgusting creatures, The Worm is a look at the earthworm. It covers such topics as the worm's habitats (sometimes they live inside other animals), its anatomy (its muscle tube is slimy and gross), and its illustrious history (worms have been on earth for 120 million years). (Amazon description)
DECK THE WALLS: SCIENCE & ILLUSTRATION
Deck the walls with these fun illustrated prints from Rachel Ignotofsky! Her pieces feature whimsical takes on everything from the anatomy of cells to lab equipment. My favorite set is probably her "Women in Science" collection, which currently features Marie Curie, Valentina Tereshkova, Jane Goodall, Patricia Bath and Rosalind Franklin.
On her site, Ignotofsky says of the collection, "I wanted to celebrate the accomplishments of these women and hope to inspire curiosity in young women to ask questions about the world we live in and be the one who finds out the answers."
RING IT IN WITH BLING: SCIENCE & DESIGN
Although it hasn't been scientifically proven that jewelry is the way to a woman's heart, a li'l shiny shiny for the holidays is almost guaranteed to bring a sparkle to the eyes of the recipient.
Love this handmade copper bracelet with etched periodic table from Hardware Designs! Additional design options include circuit boards, as well as an aluminum cuff featuring binary numbers (via PopSugar).
DRAMATIC GIFTING: SCIENCE & THEATER
Give a friend or family member something to look forward to in 2015 with tickets to a technology or science-infused theater production.
Playwright: Nick Payne
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
New York, NY
January 13 - March 15, 2015
"A change in font equals a change in universes."
If you're a sucker for love and physics (and the latter as a metaphor for the former), this is a show you'll appreciate. Playwright Nick Payne's play premiered at London's Royal Court and is now in New York City playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club. Oh, and it's starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson (THE AFFAIR), which means if you're interested, try to get tixx asap.
From The New Yorker's review of the London run:
Here, under a canopy of white variegated helium balloons that look like a galaxy of stars, Payne conjures the notion of a “multiverse” where “several outcomes can coexist simultaneously,” as Marianne (the petite, piquant Sally Hawkins) says. She happens to be a theoretical physicist who is in the process of being seduced by Roland (the charming Rafe Spall). She goes on: “In the quantum multiverse, every choice, every decision you’ve ever made and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes.” “This is genuinely turning me on,” Roland says.
Mr. Wolf (World Premiere)
Playwright: Rajiv Joseph
South Coast Repertory
Costa Mesa, CA
April 18-May 3, 2015
Theresa is 17 years old, and she can map out the solar system. She understands the universe—how and why it came to be. She owes all that to a man named Mr. Wolf. Now the only life she has ever known is coming to an end. She’s being taken away—turned over to people who are strangers to her. How can they possibly understand her needs, when they seem to be lost, too?
Playwright/Director: Regina Taylor
May 23 - June 21, 2015
As e-books and digital technologies transform the literary world, Chicago businessman Alex Ames must confront the likely demise of his long-standing African-American book publishing company. While his employees fret over losing their jobs, Alex finds unlikely inspiration from a mysterious teenager, whose inventive, forward-thinking ideas may provide the solution to preserving Alex's legacy.