Blind me with science gift ideas
December 16, 2004 10:12 AM   Subscribe

ScienceGiftFilter: I'm looking for an interesting science-related Christmas gift for a marine biologist friend of mine. [MI]

My friend has a marine biology background but is into genetics and cosmology as well. I didn't want to get her a "normal" gift, I wanted to find something a little quirky and science related. I was thinking of finding an antique sextant or some sort of old astronomy tool, or some funky lab equipment. I wanted to keep it small, something that would fit on her desk as a paperweight, or something I could frame that she would hang on the wall. She has a few old naturalist drawings of different fossils, they are pretty cool. Maybe something along those lines? I live in Seattle and have visited a few antique stores, but haven't found anything interesting yet.

Any ideas for gifts or stores/websites I should check out? Thanks!
posted by beaverd to Shopping (14 answers total)
Maybe one of these?
posted by SNACKeR at 10:23 AM on December 16, 2004

A box of Titelist golf balls?
posted by bondcliff at 10:33 AM on December 16, 2004

Sea Monkeys? Come would be CUTE!!!!
posted by Haize at 10:42 AM on December 16, 2004

I immediately thought of an antique sextant too. Dude, ebay was invented for this kind of thing. No, really, right there in the original site proposal, it says "we'd like to start up an auction site for people interested in purchasing antique sextants, and maybe, some day, other stuff too". I did a search, they have 8. I did a search for 'antique marine' and there were pages of returns. I deleted this comment already once, by accident, which is why this one doesn't have da links.

Also, I found a great site with antique sea charts, but they were over 1000. each, I'm thinking you don't want to shell out that much seaweed. I also found these luscious antique coastal survey maps, which are much more reasonable, even framed. The ones from the 1800s are really beautiful, and your friend might really enjoy studying them. I like this one, for whoever has picked me for the mefi pollyanna. What? There's no mefi pollyanna?

*shakes fist at whoever dropped the ball on this one*
posted by iconomy at 10:48 AM on December 16, 2004

It doesn't tie in directly to marine biology, genetics, or cosmology (AFAIK), but Klein bottles are chock full of scientific goodness, and even come with volume labels running from 0.0 to 0.000000 all the way up to 0.000000000000000000 mL! They can be converted into enough energy to run a home for years! They're rustproof!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:52 AM on December 16, 2004

Dude, you gotta get her the Octodog.
posted by pwb503 at 10:52 AM on December 16, 2004

I really want one of these which probably says far too much about me.

But for your friend: American Science & Surplus will show you the way.
posted by naomi at 10:55 AM on December 16, 2004

The Bodum Santos (just one link among many) is very pleasantly geeky and goes well with non-orientable glassware. It's always a big hit at the nerdier dinner party and/or small children.
posted by bonehead at 11:21 AM on December 16, 2004

American Science and Surplus has the coolest brick & mortar stores EVER, and their catalog is a laugh riot. Even if you don't buy from them, get their paper catalog. It's tremendously fun. A group of hysterically funny little old ladies write the catalog copy.
posted by u.n. owen at 12:14 PM on December 16, 2004

Accoutrements (AKA Archie McPhee's in Seattle) has a tremendous variety of fun products including a surprising number of plastic sea animals. Not everything seems to be online but there chances are there's a store in your area that carries some of their products.
posted by Gortuk at 1:43 PM on December 16, 2004

Gameboy Fish Sonar
posted by krisjohn at 3:39 PM on December 16, 2004

I once bought someone ambergris, it's easy enough to purchase beach gathered stuff in various grades on ebay and a few other sites, it's like a chunk of cetacean history and biology that you can hold in your hand (and makes a room smell nice, if you are into that sort of thing)

Also, the David Attenborough Series Blue Planet on DVD (or any of his other series) would be beyond amazing if they haven't already seen it.

And, consider the science basics, I just got a small lab hotplate and beakers, which I plan to use for cooking, but they look awesome in a lab-style kitchen.
posted by milovoo at 3:49 PM on December 16, 2004

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for the terrific suggestions. I've got enough stuff here to give gifts for the next five years of birthdays and christmases!
posted by beaverd at 6:05 PM on December 16, 2004

I got my sister some of these after I read about them here on metatfilter.

Now I'm gonna go get myself an Octodog (thanks pwb503).
posted by zanni at 1:08 AM on December 17, 2004

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