Now reading: A holiday gift guide for physicists (and those who love them)

Take a self-guided tour from quantum to cosmos!

A holiday gift guide for physicists (and those who love them)

You’ve still got time to find the perfect gift for your favourite scientist.

Illustration of Perimeter Institute

Haven’t finished holiday shopping yet? We’ve got you covered. After all, science is beautiful, and meant to be shared. Here are a few gift ideas for physicists, budding physicists, and science-curious people of all ages.

Forces of Nature posters

Affordable even if you’re on a budget: these beautiful Perimeter posters of influential women in physics are absolutely free to download! Plus, no need to wait for shipping. Printed and framed, this poster set would brighten any home.

Forces of Nature posters hanging on a wall

Bonus: Get creative over the holidays while learning about these brilliant pioneers of science by printing off our Forces of Nature colouring sheets. Great for kids and the young-at-heart alike!

Factor in some fun and games

For the person whose favourite part of Monopoly is summing up the cash, consider adding Prime Climb to their board game cupboard. Suitable for ages 10 and up (or even younger, with adult guidance), this game is challenging enough to stave off boredom but can be adapted for all math skill levels. Let the good times multiply!

photo of the box for the game Prime Climb

Off the shelf

Turn Boxing Day into Books-ing Day with science reads for everyone.

Photo of a father and daughter reading together

Elementary school readers will be fascinated by this charming picture book about Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of. Middle grade readers can discover answers to more than 90 big questions of the universe (all in straightforward language, alongside fun graphics) in The Physics Book.

Adult readers can take a voyage through science, literature, and philosophy with Carlo Rovelli, theoretical physicist and Perimeter Distinguished Visiting Research Chair. His book, There are Places in the World Where Rules are Less Important Than Kindness, is a collection of essays on everything from Dante’s conception of the universe to the evolution of the octopus.

And if you thought 2020 was bad, check out all the ways the universe could end with The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) by astrophysicist Katie Mack, a former Simons Emmy Noether Fellow at Perimeter.

This gift is lit

Give your friends and family the gift of light during the dark days of winter with these funky LED lights.

LED sign that says This Is Our Happy Place

What does that have to do with science? We may take them for granted now, but the technology is quite impressive: the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three scientists for their invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) – the last step required for creating white LEDs. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura enabled new generations of energy-efficient lamps and screens.

Hands-on physics fun

For the tinkerer in your life, or the person who has everything, give the gift of levitating sculptures, a hyperbola clock, or a motor that runs off the heat of your hand.

Photo of a levitating lamp

At the Physics Fun Shop (and Physics Fun Instagram), you’ll find fascinating videos of fun gizmos and gadgets that demonstrate basic science principles, including lamps and lights, simple heat engines, magnetic toys, kinetic art, and math and physics puzzles. It’s bound to have them wondering, “How does that work?”

We’re still here

Perimeter Institute’s iconic building is a home-away-from-home for many physicists. This charming illustration by Waterloo Region artist Maggie Laurin may fill a void until we can all be together again. Happy holidays!

Illustration of Perimeter Institute


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