Best Science Gifts for Adults [Top 8 Picks for 2020]

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Whether you’re looking for a gift for your professor friend or someone who just loves science, there is a lot of fun and creative scientific gifts for adults out there. Everything from socks to drink glasses to robots and telescopes can fit the bill. Some geek gifts are simply decorations, while others require building and assembly to create something fun and functional. Whatever interests the science nerd in your life, there is sure to be an excellent gift choice out there!

On this list of the best science gifts for adults, we picked This Book is a Planetarium as best overall because it combines art, engineering, and science in one interactive book.

Keep on scrolling for more scientific gift ideas that might interest you!

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions (Popup Book for Kids and Adults, Interactive Planetarium Book, Cool Books for Adults)
Best Interactive Gift
Vector Robot by Anki, A Home Robot Who Hangs Out & Helps Out, With Amazon Alexa Built-In
Budget Option
Heat Changing Planet Mug - Add Coffee or Tea and the Solar System Appears - Comes in a Fun Gift Box
Name
This Book is a Planetarium
Vector Robot by Anki
Climate Change Coffee Mug
Features
A short, creative book with cleaver and high quality pop up gizmos including a planetarium, stringed instrument, and more.
A cute and fully functional robot that can interact and do simple tasks for you.
A clever and unique gift for your resident scientist that lets them watch how rising ocean levels affect the planet.
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions (Popup Book for Kids and Adults, Interactive Planetarium Book, Cool Books for Adults)
Name
This Book is a Planetarium
Features
A short, creative book with cleaver and high quality pop up gizmos including a planetarium, stringed instrument, and more.
More Info
Best Interactive Gift
Our Top Picks
Vector Robot by Anki, A Home Robot Who Hangs Out & Helps Out, With Amazon Alexa Built-In
Name
Vector Robot by Anki
Features
A cute and fully functional robot that can interact and do simple tasks for you.
More Info
Budget Option
Our Top Picks
Heat Changing Planet Mug - Add Coffee or Tea and the Solar System Appears - Comes in a Fun Gift Box
Name
Climate Change Coffee Mug
Features
A clever and unique gift for your resident scientist that lets them watch how rising ocean levels affect the planet.
More Info

Related post: The Best Build Your Own Robot Kits for Adults

Best Science Gifts for Adults

Best Overall – This Book is a Planetarium

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Best Overall
This Book is a Planetarium
An excellent option that can surely capture imagination. It includes six high-quality pop-up illustrations that double as functional devices.

For science lovers in your life, this book is an excellent option sure to capture their imagination. It includes six high-quality pop-up illustrations that double as functional devices. The combination of art, engineering, and science are sure to please your favorite science nerd.

This Book is a Planetarium is our top overall choice for the science-loving adult in your life. It’s creative, informative, beautiful, and functional. The interactive book includes a working planetarium that projects constellations on the ceiling and walls, a stringed musical instrument, a geometric drawing generator, a perpetual calendar, a decoder, and a working speaker that amplifies sound. 

Several of the tools work in combination with a smartphone to create the full effect. We love the combination of simple design and construction using paper with modern technology to create an interactive science experience. With six different tools, at least one is sure to resonate with the scientific adult in your life, and they may even learn something new from the diverse examples included!

Best Interactive Gift – Vector Robot by Anki

Best Interactive Gift
Vector Robot by Anki
This small but powerful assistant can be connected to Google’s Alexa, and can do other independent tasks either for fun or function.

If you’re buying a gift for an adult who loves robotics and technology, consider getting them this little helper! The Vector Robot by Anki is a small but mighty robot that can respond to verbal commands to do things like set a timer, control smart home devices, recognize people, self-charge, and more. 

There are so many ways to use and interact with this robot, making it fun, functional, and versatile. From fun tasks like dancing, to work tasks like timing dinner or running your home, this science gift brings a futuristic feel to your home. And who couldn’t use a little non-human assistance getting things done more efficiently?

Want to know more about Vector? Check out our latest review for more details!

Best Budget Option – Climate Change Coffee Mug

Sale
Best Budget Option
Climate Change Coffee Mug
A clever and unique mug perfect for someone who loves coffee and science.

This clever and unique mug is a great gift for the scientist in your life. When you add hot liquid to the mug, the current land borders disappear beneath rising oceans, illustrating some of the impacts of climate change will have on our planet.

The Climate Change Coffee Mug is a fun, budget-friendly science gift for adults. The heat-activated effect illustrates the predicted effects of sea-level rise caused by a warming climate. It’s a unique gift that can be a great conversation starter for someone who loves both coffee and science.

We also give an honorary mention to this heat changing planet mug. When empty, the mug shows the 9 planets in our solar system on a black background. When hot liquid is added, additional celestial bodies (like moons and asteroids) are visible on the mug, along with interesting facts about the planets and our solar system. 

Best Science Book – What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Best Science Book
What If?
A witty, amusing, and clever webcomic turned book that use scientific approach to answer absurd questions with humor and clarity.

Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe is a current popular favorite. Randall Munroe made a name with his webcomic, answering readers’ absurd questions. He’s a physicist who worked at NASA doing robotics, but he also loved drawing and has an excellent sense of humor. He found the perfect combination for his talents, and now answers absurd (his words) questions using a serious scientific approach based on physics, chemistry, and engineering. 

For the adult scientist, this book is a nearly perfect gift option. It’s light enough to be entertaining, but serious enough – where the science comes in – to satisfy a scientists’ need for accuracy and rigor. And, let’s face it, what self-respecting scientist hasn’t tried to answer silly questions seriously? Monroe’s book offers us all the satisfaction of going deep to answer questions that many might consider unanswerable, and the result is a popular and amusing fan favorite! 

Best for Tracking Weather – Acurite Galileo Thermometer with Barometer

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Best for Tracking Weather
Galileo Thermometer with Barometer
A colorful way to understand your local temperature and air pressure based on science you can see.

Galileo is best known for his astronomical discoveries, but he also discovered that the density of liquids is dependent on temperature and pressure. This Galileo Thermometer with Barometer measures temperature using liquids of different densities so that the glass globes rise and fall based on the air temperature and its effect on liquid densities. The glass globe barometer is a traditional spherical barometer that measures air pressure by the rise and fall of liquid within the globe.

The scientific principles behind this gift are simple but universal, and near-and-dear to the scientist in your life. It’s a beautiful and functional gift that is sure to please anyone with interest in scientific history and the weather. This is the perfect gift for a science nerd!

Best Build it Yourself Gift – Academy da Vinci Clock

Best DIY GIft
Academy da Vinci Clock
A great geek gift that involves building or assembling to create an attractive and functional da Vinci clock.

Known for his wide-ranging talents and creativity, including creative experiments and attention to detail, da Vinci was instrumental to the development of western science. This Academy da Vinci Clock is a science gift with more. You’ll build the clock – it can be designed to be wall or desk mounted – and then watch it work and keep time accurately without electricity. The clever design allows for it to be assembled without the use of glue or paint.

Keep kids engaged and learning with STEM boxes!

Keep the kids learning and having fun with engaging activities. No need to brainstorm ideas or hunt for materials – it’s all done for you!

Get a STEM box delivered to your door for hassle-free kids activities. View our guide to the Best STEM Subscription Boxes available in 2020!

If you are looking for a gift for an engineer, or if you know an artist who is also a science lover, this is an excellent scientific gift! It incorporates elements of engineering, design, art, and science, and when finished, you have a functional clock with a great story, making it the ultimate gift for science nerds.

Best Puzzle – Milky Way Puzzle

Best Puzzle
Milky Way Puzzle
Based on a beautiful photo from the Hubble Space Telescope and offers an excellent challenge

Scientists usually enjoy solving problems and doing puzzles, as – of course – do many people without a formal science background. The Milky Way Puzzle is a 1,000 piece puzzle designed to challenge your adult friends. The stunning image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and, in itself, is a marvel of modern science and engineering. The puzzle is challenging: with 1,000 pieces and subtle image gradations, it’s sure to satisfy the most industrious problem-solver.

If space isn’t your thing, check out the Tree of Life 1,000 piece puzzle, which illustrates how all living things are related. And, let’s face it, there are puzzles out there for any scientific interest: the periodic table, women in science, the ecosystem of the world, you name it, there’s a puzzle! No matter the topic, it’s a great geek gift!

Best for Stargazing – Meade Instruments Infinity 80mm AZ Telescope

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Best for Stargazing
Meade Instruments Infinity Telescope
A great introductory telescope that gives an awe-inspiring connection to the world outside of our daily lives.

The Meade Instruments Infinity 80mm AZ Telescope is a great introductory telescope. It is quick and easy to set up and generally low-maintenance. It also comes with several thoughtful extras that will make your stargazing experience more satisfying. It’s a great way to start learning about refraction and magnification, to understand how telescopes work, and what that means about what you can see when stargazing with one.

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I love that a telescope allows you to look at the night sky and learn about the stars and planets. I also love that it harkens back to the history of science and technological development, and by learning to use a telescope, you have a hands-on connection to legends of science like Galileo. If you are interested in a telescope but want to know more, check out our post where we listed some of the best telescopes for beginners this year.

What to Consider When Buying a Science Gift for an Adult

Woman holding molecular model with blackboard on the back

Cute or Functional?

A lot of science gifts for adults are more like themed daily goods: socks, mugs, puzzles, posters. They might have scientific equations, reference a famous scientist, or use scientific terminology to write a phrase. These can be really fun and cute gifts! Some science gifts for adults are more functional: robots, clocks, thermometers, etc. So consider your audience and what will be most appreciated. Something clever and funny? Or something they can build and/or use?

Budget

A lot of gifts for science nerds fall into one of two categories: inexpensive themed objects and expensive functional tools. If your budget is small, you likely need to aim more toward the science-themed gift end of the spectrum. In this case, a book about a specific scientist could be a great option. If your budget is larger, I recommend considering a functional gift option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Science stuff and laptop on table

How do I find a scientific gift for an adult?

You might be surprised just how easy it is! The internet is full of fun and geeky gifts aimed at adults who love science and technology. This post is a great place to start, but if the topics or products here don’t meet your needs (or hit the right scientific topics), we hope the type of gift ideas here will lead you to the right answer for the science geek in your life.

What’s the best place to look for science gifts for adults?

Amazon is always a great start when looking for science gifts. They have a ton of products all in one place, giving you a chance to see what’s out there and more than likely find a good option. Another good spot is looking at museum gift shops, most of which are now available online. They tend to have an interesting mix of high-quality products that are not always available from other sources.

How much do science gifts for adults cost?

As is so often the case, the answer is, it varies! But, in all truth, you can find cute and interesting science-themed gifts for under $20, or you can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on high-quality scientific equipment designed for home use. You can definitely find something within any budget for your adult science geek!

Allison Ebbets

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API