ISB News

A Scientist-Approved Science-Themed Holiday Gift Guide

When putting together a science-themed gift guide, you have to go to the source. So we asked ISB’s researchers for their ideas and to share what’s on their list. Whether you’re buying for a scientist, a science enthusiast, or if you simply want to give the gift of science, this gift guide is for you.

Note: Many of the gift ideas on this list are available on When making purchases with the online retailer, please use the AmazonSmile program and designate “Institute for Systems Biology” as your nonprofit charity, and Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of sales toward our research. Do you forget to use Amazon Smile? Use Smilematic to automatically use Smile every time you shop on Amazon!

The Gift of Research


For the scientist or science geek that has it all, consider giving the gift of research. You can make contributions in a gift recipient’s name, and those funds fuel groundbreaking research. There are a number of great organizations to support — our favorite, of course, is ISB.

Donate Now



Have you always wanted to learn to knit? Or cook? Or garden? Or woodwork? “No matter what you’re into, we deliver the creative blueprints you need to go from ‘Where do I start?’ to “Look what I made!’,” says a video on Bluprint’s website. It provides tailored project kits and instruction to help you learn and improve your making skills.

Brain HQ


“Just as you can exercise your abs, delts and quads, you can exercise your memory, attention, and more. As with physical exercise, brain exercise can help you test your brain and improve your performance,” the BrainHQ website says. This program was developed by neuroscientists, and gifting a subscription to a loved one may help them stay mentally sharp.

Double Helix Ring


Is pretty jewelry in your gift recipient’s DNA? Then this sterling silver double helix DNA structure ring is a slam dunk.

‘The Order of Time’


Five years ago, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli published “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.” He wrote about relativity, quantum gravity, and the cosmos. In Italy, the book outsold “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Last year, Rovelli published “The Order of Time,” and wrote: “The world is not a collection of things, it is a collection of events.”

‘Statistically Significant’ Mugmug


Ah, failure. Sure, it’s hard. But this funny mug offers some perspective. Drink it up.

Woman in Science Shirt


A great T-shirt for budding scientists, students of any level, teachers, or professional scientists. It might pair nicely with science pants, too! (See below.)

Glowing Jellyfish Bacteria

$30GF ecoli

This DIY kit allows you to insert a jellyfish gene into bacteria, resulting in bacteria that glows green when you shine a light on them. It comes with everything you need, and is enough to run five experiments.

Solar System Crystal Ball


What do you see when you stare into your crystal ball? With this elegant product on your desk or shelf, you’ll see a laser-engraved solar system. Cosmic!



Molecular gastronomy is attainable in your own kitchen. With some sodium alginate, calcium lactate, a tasty liquid, common kitchen equipment and a can-do spirit, you can create spheres that can take your next dinner party over the top!

Habit: Personalized Nutrition Plan


“We help you hear what your body has to say by translating your test results into a personalized nutrition plan,” Habit says on its website. A Habit subscription might delight the diet-and-exercise enthusiast on your list.

Science PantsScience Pants


Wear your passion. Science Pants offers prints of real microscopic cellular images that are digitally printed on organic, recycled fabric.



A DNA test for your cat? Are you kitten me right meow? Nope! Basepaws will let you learn about the health, breed traits and habits of your fur baby.

Fluorescent Yeast


“Genetically engineering yeast in your home seems like science fiction, but it is actually now a reality,” the website boasts. With this kit, you can make a brewing yeast (supplied) or any other yeast (you supply) fluorescent. Green yogurt, anyone?

Music Synthesizersynthesizer


This tiny, self contained modular synthesizer is poised to make all kinds of crazy sounds. Talk about exploring interacting systems!

Buchla Music Easel

$5,000 (Hey, it is a WISH list)

Don Buchla was a pioneer in the field of sound synthesis. This instrument allows you to tame and experiment with sound.

For more science-themed gift ideas, check out “27 Gift Ideas for the Scientist in Your Life.”




Recent Articles

  • Building a Better BMI

    ISB researchers have constructed biological body mass index (BMI) measures that offer a more accurate representation of metabolic health and are more varied, informative and actionable than the traditional, long-used BMI equation. The work was published in the journal Nature Medicine. 

  • How Immune Cells ‘See’ and Respond to Mutations in Cancer Cells

    In a just-published paper in the journal Nature, a collaborative team of researchers from ISB, UCLA, PACT Pharma, and beyond analyzed T-cell responses in melanoma patients who were treated with different immune checkpoint inhibitors, and how those responses evolved over time.

  • Spotlight on ISB Education graphic

    2022-23 School Year ISB Education Highlights

    From planning, creating and executing workshops for educators to forging new relationships to elevate students, the ISB Education team has been in high gear. Each month throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, we will highlight some of the top projects the team is working on.