10 cool science gifts (for every age and budget)

Looking for Christmas gifts for a science-lover? These science gifts entertain adults, educate children, and bring a smile to the Einstein in your life  – just choose your budget.

1. Under $20

For kids: Frightened Grasshopper, $7.98


This cute grasshopper is a solar-powered insect from OWI Inc. The bug’s solar panel generates electricity that runs its tiny motor. Spend some time in the sun and this insect will come to life in jittery fits of “fright,” teaching children about the power of alternative energy. OWI also has a “happy hopping” solar frog for kids who are more interested in amphibians.

For adults: "I'm Good with Math" Mug, $17.95


We don’t mean to insinuate that all math-minded people can’t spell, but for those engineers who truly can’t, let this mug handle it. Know a math whiz who can spell? Zazzle has other clever mugs, including one with the classic √-1 2³ Σ π phrase (translation: “I Ate Some Pie”). Computer scientists should find a laugh in the mug with the catchphrase, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” The line is more of an inside joke for programmers, so ask your geeky friends to explain…then get them the mug.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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