Christmas is a special time, so you want to get the people you care about gifts that they will truly appreciate. But what do you get for that person who's into science? Wouldn't it just be easier to buy them a box of chocolates and a pair of socks?
Well yes, it probably would be easier, but the fact that you're reading this article shows that you're already putting a bit more thought into your gift giving than that, and for that I'd like to congratulate you! I'm sure your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated by the people receiving gifts from you this festive season!
To begin with, one of the simplest types of gifts to get are books. There are many classic scientific works that are a must read' for all who have an interest in science. For example, there is Charles Darwin's Origin of Species' and Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time'. For lighter reading that is aimed at entertainment as well as education, you could try one of the many titles by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, who is well known in Australia for his books on some of the quirkier aspects of science.
For a really surprising and unusual gift you could organize a trip to a planetarium. Many people haven't been to a planetarium since they were taken on a school trip as a child. Things may have changed a bit since then, but fortunately you're never too old to see the wonders of the universe displayed for you in new and exciting ways!
A gift idea that will continue on well after Christmas is a subscription to a scientific magazine or journal. Science magazines cover all the latest scientific news and discoveries in the usual magazine format, whereas journals present the actual research papers submitted by the researchers for review by their peers. There are a wide range available, including some that cover a variety of scientific subjects, as well as those that specialize in a certain area. There is a wealth of information available on the Internet for those interested in subscribing, including selected articles or abstracts to papers so you can see assess sort of material that is published.
An excellent gift that will last for many years is the humble field guide to the birds, mammals or other animals of your region. Combined with a good quality set of binoculars, a digital camera and a backpack, the budding wildlife spotter will have enough to get started on what will no doubt become many hours spent in the wilds searching for creatures of all shapes and sizes!
Encounters with ocean life are rare and precious experiences in the lives of most people. If you live close enough to the water, tickets for a whale watching or other water-life cruise, or for a scuba diving course may be just the thing for the armchair marine biologist! Another option may be a trip to an aquarium or other marine park, where they offer behind the scenes tours or opportunities to swim with the animals. Having a paddle with a shark or a dolphin is the sort of gift that they will never forget!
As you can see there is a wide variety of potential gifts for adults who are interested in science. A thoughtful gift such as one of the above will no doubt be greatly appreciated and enjoyed for a long time after the Christmas tree has been put away!