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The best gifts for science nerds and geeks

nerdy atom socks
Punny science socks may be the perfect gift for the science nerd in your life. (Image credit: Lavely)

What's the perfect gift for your favorite science geek? Do they need a levitating moon lamp? A galaxy blanket? Maybe a bracelet of the periodic table? And don't forget that fashionable nerds can never have too many science themed socks or t-shirts.

Disney+ would be a great gift for that person who seems to have everything. This package includes Pixar adventures, Marvel epics, Star Wars sagas, National Geographic explorations and more: Sign up for Disney Plus today (opens in new tab).

Our sister publication, How It Works (opens in new tab), could be the perfect gift for the science enthusiast in your life. The magazine, which also comes in digital form, breaks down all the amazing science and tech in the world, with clear and fun illustrations and interviews. Check out the holiday deal on subscriptions.

Oculus Quest 2 Advanced All-In-One VR Headset - 256 GB: $399 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

If you're looking to spend more money, give your partner or good friend the gift of VR. The Oculus Quest 2 is an expensive gift, but it's also the coolest VR gaming available. It's totally wireless; you don't even need your own headphones, as it comes packing positional speakers. And there are hundreds of science-y games and experiences to choose from, many of which are free.

Atom socks: $9.95 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

What chemistry nerd doesn’t love a good atom pun? Lavely’s colorful, funny, comfortable socks are a great gift for science nerds who like to put their feet up.

Chemistry Shot Glasses: $19.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

All alcohol tastes best from a beaker. This set includes four shot glasses, two in the shape of beakers, one shaped like a conical erlenmeyer flask, and one like a round Florence flask. Each shot glass holds about one ounce of liquid. 

Decodyne Math Wall Clock: $19.95 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

The math nerds in your life will go nuts over this clock that doesn’t simply tell the time, but asks you to calculate it. Each position on the clock is filled with a simple (or not so simple) math equation. 

Cell Division Mitosis Art: $20 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

For the biology nerd who likes tasteful decor, this gold foil art depicting mitosis is perfect. You can hang this classy depiction of how cells divide in any room to tie in your love of science with your carefully designed space. 

Solar Powered Robotics Kit: $25.99 $20.79 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Create-your-own robots will always be a hit. And this one uses the power of the sun to roam around, meaning that it lets kids learn about energy conversion in addition to the engineering skills it takes to put a robot together.

"Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World" - $10.45 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Read fascinating profiles of 50 pioneering women who transformed STEM — the fields of science, technology, engineering and math — and who fearlessly blazed a trail for generations to come. Written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky.

Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game: $49.99 $34.15 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Visit the interior of a human cell and direct the cellular action in this tabletop strategy game! Collect resources such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and DNA, and build enzymes, hormones, and receptors to score health points.

Periodic Table of Elements Cuff: $19.50 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Keep the names of all the elements close at hand with this elegant, adjustable aluminum wrist cuff displaying the periodic table. The table is printed with waterproof ink and the cuff measures 6.6 inches (16.7 cm) wide.

Caffeine Beaker Mug: $12.00 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Enjoy your coffee, tea or cola in a clear glass mug decorated with an illustration of a caffeine molecule. Holds 0.8 pints (400 ml) of hot or cold liquids (with or without caffeine).

Pi Tie: $24.95 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

You might not be able to count all the numbers in pi — an irrational and never-ending mathematical constant — but you can wear its symbol printed on a blue background on this jaunty microfiber tie. It measures 58 inches (147 cm) long and is 3.25 inches (8.25 cm) wide.

2021 This Day in Science Boxed Calendar: $12.28 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Celebrate science every day with this boxed calendar, packed with gorgeous images and daily facts about scientific discoveries and achievements — from deep inside Earth to our solar system and beyond.

Fat Cat Galaxy Area Rug: $19.49 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Ponder the mysteries of the universe while gazing down at this area rug, featuring a cubby cat pictured against the backdrop of a spiral galaxy. Available in two sizes: 3'x2' and 6'x4' (for $46.50).

Tardigrade Slippers: $24.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Adorable tardigrades (also known as water bears) are capable of surviving extreme conditions, such as boiling heat, freezing cold and the vacuum of space. They're also microscopic. But these plush tardigrades are big enough to keep your feet toasty warm. 

Insect Collection Shirt: $19.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Vintage-style natural history illustrations of a collection of beetles decorate a shirt that will please any insect-lover or entomologist.

"Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear" (opens in new tab)

Award-winning journalist Eva Holland takes a personal journey through the science of fear in her new book. "Nerve" is equal parts a memoir of Holland facing her own fears — the death of her mother and a gripping phobia of heights — and a scientific exploration of the neuroscience underlying fear. Holland’s adventures shed light on questions we all have: Why do we experience fear? And how can we overcome it?

Price: $12.77 hardcover

Authentic Meteorite Pendant Necklace (opens in new tab)

How about a necklace that's out of this world? This pendant is a piece of an actual meteorite from Campo Del Cielo, Argentina; it weighs about 0.2 ounces (7 grams) and is packaged in a handcrafted wooden box.

Price: $19.95

Hooded Galaxy Blanket (opens in new tab)

Wrap yourself in a colorful nebula — an interstellar cloud of dust and gas — with this cozy hooded blanket. Interior is plush-lined, and the blanket measures 80 inches (203 cm) wide and 60 inches (152 cm) tall.

Price: $45.99

Levitating Moon Lamp (opens in new tab)

A 3D-printed moon model displays the textures and features of the lunar surface, based on high-resolution astronomical data. Magnets create a levitation effect, allowing the illuminated globe produces light while suspended above a wooden platform.

Price: $109.99

Circuit Board Tie (opens in new tab)

Dress up your favorite computer geek with this microfiber tie, printed with a circuit-board pattern. The tie measures 58 inches (147 cm) long and 3.25 inches (8.25 cm) wide.

Price: $26.95, down from $29.95 listing price

"Cats Are a Liquid" (opens in new tab)

Are cats a liquid or a solid? Their uncanny ability to pour their bodies into containers in a variety of shapes suggests that even though cats are technically solid, they exhibit some physical properties of a liquid. This entertaining book, written by Rebecca Donnelly and illustrated by Misa Saburi, explores a legitimate (and fascinating) scientific question about our feline friends.

Price: $15.44 hardcover

Dinosaur 'Ugly Christmas Sweater' - Men's (opens in new tab)

This dinosaur-decorated Christmas sweater is so ugly, you can't help but love it. Perfect for paleontologists or anyone who loves dinosaurs (and theropods like T. rex), the sweater is soft, cozy and 100% cotton.

Price: $25.23-$39.60

LEGO Creator Space Shuttle Explorer (opens in new tab)

Your burgeoning astronaut, or astrophysicist, will love this 3-in-1 Lego creation: They can build a Space Shuttle with an opening payload bay, a robotic arm, a satellite with fold-out wings and a minifigure cockpit (set includes the minifigure astronaut). For more fun, your child can rebuild this kit into a Moon Station or a Space Rover with a drilling arm. (Suggested ages: 7 to 12)

Price: $55.84

GIANT MICROBES — Blood Cells (opens in new tab)

Even if you faint at the sight of blood, you can surely handle these fuzzy blood cells. And perhaps, you’ll grow to adore your plasma, platelets and all the glorious cells pulsing through your veins. This plushy set includes: a red blood cell, white blood cell, plasma, platelet and antibody.

Price: $21.95

Petit Collage Magnetic Play Scene, Outer Space (opens in new tab)

Your aspiring scientist or imaginative child can keep their hands and brain busy decorating a scene in outer space or the inside of a space station! Designed for ages 3 and up, this magnetic play-place includes 54 pieces crafted from recycled materials and printed with vegetable inks.

Price: $25.00 

Kanguru Glow in The Dark Constellation Blanket (opens in new tab)

No need to freeze your tushy off to take in the night sky. With this glow-in-the-dark constellation blanket, you can catch a glimpse of the amazing stars in the comfort of your home. 

Price: $34.99

For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.
  • Awesome.Tech
    These gifts are good as minor presents, with a focus on 'having' rather than 'doing'. If you're looking for a larger present that involves lots of hands-on doing, check out this full-on kit of a 'working' model particle accelerator:
  • Dan Riskin
    I think you should take the bat off your list.

    (1) It's not a vampire bat (real vampires don't have a tail membrane). It's likely some Asian insectivore.

    (2) Bats in resin aren't harvested sustainably, and many bats are endangered. It's not an ethical or responsible gift at all. If you want to know more, here's a resource:
  • Hardon Collider
    Agreed. Dead bats in resin is just sad.
  • Dan Riskin
    Kudos to Livescience for doing the right thing. Thank you.
  • bernado
    Dan Riskin said:
    I think you should take the bat off your list.

    (1) It's not a vampire bat (real vampires don't have a tail membrane). It's likely some Asian insectivore.

    (2) Bats in resin aren't harvested sustainably, and many bats are endangered. It's not an ethical or responsible gift at all. If you want to know more, here's a resource:

    I kinda agree - dead bats not a good idea.
  • MindyW
    Dan Riskin said:
    I think you should take the bat off your list.

    (1) It's not a vampire bat (real vampires don't have a tail membrane). It's likely some Asian insectivore.

    (2) Bats in resin aren't harvested sustainably, and many bats are endangered. It's not an ethical or responsible gift at all. If you want to know more, here's a resource:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for pointing this out, we agree that this represents a sensitive conservation issue that we did not recognize, and we've removed the listing.


    Mindy Weisberger
    Senior Writer, Live Science
  • AlexG
    I do like a Christmas list of sciencey things
  • iluvweed
    Where do I find the bats you removed for the two cry babies?
  • sunrisesmile89
    Check Not-Another-Bill's website, you instantly know you've come to a good place for gifts. Their range covers baby and kids, beauty, games and gift sets with plenty of personalised gifts available. Everything is wonderfully designed and aesthetically pleasing, from a Keith Harry Chess Set to adorable educational playsets for kids. Also Super Mario chess set is tremendously popular. Both of my kids love playing with these high quality Mario pieces as if they were simply action figures. In fact, when he was younger, I think our son thought playing chess literally meant having pretend time with the Mario pieces. So you’re really getting a two-in-one here. And if you want to teach your kid how to play, this set combined with book Chess Puzzles for Kids by Maksim Aksanov (net-bossorg/chess-puzzles-for-kids-by-maksim-aksanov) - It uses a chess teaching method that has been perfected for over a decade, kids will LOVE learning chess through fun stories and exercises.