2015 might go down in history as the best year for scienceart enthusiasts EVAH. Here are ten gifts guaranteed to make your favorite nerd squeeee (I'm lookin' at you, tough guy):
10. Radiolaria Tree Ornaments by Ontongenie
All I can say is, it's about time! It only took 500 million years of radiolaria sitting around and waiting for someone with a 3D printer to notice how spectacularly beautiful they are. But hey, now that they have and radiolaria ornaments are here, what are you waiting for?
9. Illustrated Leggings by paleoillustrator Brian Engh
I'll be the first to admit I am slow to jump on the loud leggings craze, but these leggings are undeniably RAD. Did ya hear that, Santa? RAD. Yes, please:
8. DNA Prints by Lisa Limeri
Lisa Limeri, a PhD student in ecology and evolutionary biology, has created an Etsy shop full of animal images with DNA sequences overlaid on top. In addition to producing cool prints, I applaud her for understanding and using the Creative Commons Licensing system properly. Props!
7. Mushroom Cap Journal by Arpita Choudhury
Nature is full of beautiful patterns but sometimes it takes the right artist to translate those patterns into something that "works." For me, this mushroom cap journal by Arpita Choudhury does the trick. If writing's not your thang, you can get it on a variety of other merchanise - leggings, smartphone cases, pillows, duvet covers... you get the picture.
6. Dino Pet
A glow-in-the-dark dinosaur has probably been on my holiday wish list since I was 5, but Santa just never did deliver on that one. This time last year, my hopes were raised a little when I saw the Dino Pet Kickstarter, but I didn't feature it because I didn't want others to suffer the way I have for 30-odd years... but now, a glowing dino pet can be yours, and it's not even radioactive, people! The secret is tiny critters called dinoflagellates that bioluminesce when agitated (don't tell PETA). And now you can call them your very own. Aww!
5. Milo & Biscuit's Guide to Evolution by George Blevins
This book is unlike any I've seen - a graphic guide to the origin of the universe, with most time spent on the parts we are least familiar with (i.e. not the last 500-million years). It is cleverly written in layers for various interest levels so you can breeze through the story with your trusty guides Milo & Biscuit, or dive deeper for a bit more detail. It's creative, entertaining, and as well illustrated as it is ambitious.
4. Biophilia by Christopher Marley
Pages of spectacular scienceart by Christopher Marley are at your finger tips in his second book, Biophilia (his first, Pheromone, is an equally stunning gift). It's a kaleidescope of critters. You'll never look at a beetle the same way again.
3. Prints by Asher Jay
2. Moon Glass Set via Colossal
I'm not entirely sure what they're pouring from this tea pot, but then again, does it really matter? These funky little cups mimic the waning moon as you sip your tea. Make your tea milky like the Brits or skip the tea and pour egg nog... whatever. It's just so dern cool!
1. Algae Pen from Living Ink
They say good things come to those who wait. So if you're willing to wait for this successfully funded Kickstarter campaign to get their product to market and then wait three days to read the secret messages you write, you'll be wanting this pen. Developed by researchers investigating algae as a renewable resource, the pen is loaded with invisible algae ink that reveals itself in sunlight. Check out their video explanation on Kickstarter (don't ya just love it when the nerd gets the girl?)
Bonus/Extra Credit: sciart gear by the Symbiartic crew!
Katie McKissick offers quirky science comic books and gear (Brainsplosion pillow, anyone?) based off her science comic blog Beatrice the Biologist. You can also support her Patreon campaign for first dibs on future cartoons. Symbiartic co-founder Glendon Mellow creates a world where trilobites have wings and his awe for science emerges from the shadows of his oil paintings. He offers fine art prints, smartphone cases, calendars, clothes, and more.
For the record, none of these folks know that I had my eye on them for Symbiartic's gift guide and I received no schwag that might have moved me to feature them. I should note that George Blevins was kind enough to send me a soft-bound copy of his book after I read through the online version and decided I was interested in featuring it. But that was so long ago (this year has been the year of the backlogged post) I am certain he had no idea I would feature his book here.