Top ten “visionary” art and science gifts for the person who has everything

It’s that time of year again for warmth, good cheer, and crowded mall parking lots with frantic, crazy shoppers. If you want to give your friends thoughtful and unique gifts this holiday season (that are all art + science of seeing related, of course), skip the risk of being trampled and read on for our Top 10 “Visionary” Art + Science Gifts for the person who has everything:

GLIMPSE journal gift subscription graphic 

 

1. The gift of (in)sight: A Subscription to GLIMPSE journal. ($40-$165)
We can’t make a list of visionary art + science gifts without including GLIMPSE journal. If you’re reading the blog, you probably have a good idea of what GLIMPSE is all about, but if not, GLIMPSE is a beautiful supercollider of theme-based issues that mix contemporary research, experience, and expression from leading and emerging scholars, scientists and artists about visual perception, visual cultures, and forms of seeing. For the person who’s constantly seeking to expand their knowledge and understanding of science, art and reality, giving him a subscription to GLIMPSE just might make you his favorite.
 


2. We want these. Now. But first we have to get iPhones. iPhone Microscope Attachment. ($17.50)
Is there anything an iPhone can’t do? Well, okay, there might be a few things, but its wide array of uses beyond a phone is still pretty darn amazing. We happen to think this microscope attachment for an iPhone 4 would make a good gift for your tech savvy friend. Instead of checking her Facebook every five minutes, she can see what a strand of hair or a speck of dust looks like magnified 60 times. We have a feeling that will come in handy more often than you’d think!
 

 

3. For the person who knows everything: A Short History of Nearly Everything (Illustrated). ($35)
Science classes in school are usually dry and boring and you end up forgetting that it’s actually some pretty fascinating stuff. While a textbook read of cellular respiration may not exactly be thrilling, if you know of a person who appreciates science and not the class work that accompanies it, check out A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Not only does it provide a readable, humorous, and informative account of the history of well, everything, this new edition is also illustrated. The recipient of this gift will actually enjoy learning about the big bang theory and the illustrations throughout are beautiful.
 

 

4. Nature lovers: Life. ($25.50)
For the person who loves animals, the cycle of life, or just the sheer magnificence of our unique planet, you might want to give him or her BBC’s production of Life. The eleven part documentary pairs David Attenborough’s soothing, British narrative of plants’ and animals’ survival strategies with breathtaking cinematography.
 

 

5. The gift of wonder: Microscope for Kids. ($79.95)
Speaking of magnification, if you know a little one who may be a budding scientist, check out this microscope for kids. They’re never too young to explore the art of seeing and they’ll have a leg-up on all their friends when they do experiments in science class!
 

 

6. Perspective check: Powers of Ten. ($11)
Have a friend who’s constantly buying cool, unique little trinkets that perhaps don’t serve the most practical of functions? If so, Powers of Ten: A Flipbook might be a greatly appreciated gift. This 154-page flipbook is all about the relative size of the universe — it takes you on a fast-paced journey from the unfathomable enormity of the Milky Way to the unfathomable tininess of a single atom. If the person really digs the flipbook, have him watch the short documentary it’s adapted from.
 

 

7. Low Tech in a Hi-Tech World: The classic Holga camera. ($25.99)
Digital cameras can take amazing pictures and satisfy our craving for instant gratification, but if you have a friend interested in photography, you might want to think about giving him a Holga camera. The Holga is low-tech and simple; occasional light leaks and soft focusing make for some unpredictable, yet stunning photography. Get your friend’s creative juices flowing and he’ll be sure to thank you.
 

 

8. New gadgets for the bored photographer: Fluorescent Photography Paraphernalia. ($170+)
For those of you that caught the GLIMPSE Color issue article on Dr. Charles Mazel’s fluorescent garden photography, you can buy the equipment to capture the fluorescent wavelength of everything around you for stunning fluorescent images. Mazel began experimenting with fluorescent photography during his marine life research, so if you’ve got the underwater equipment, you can use the excitation and barrier lens filters on land, or at sea. View his before and after garden fluorescence images here. We don’t expect the Holga to be able to handle these filters, but maybe someone will surprise us! 

 

 

 

9. The Art of Science: Anatomy poster of the eye. ($49.99)
Stumped on what to get that ophthalmologist friend of yours? This eerily beautiful anatomy poster of the eye, drawn by German physician Georg Bartisch in 1583 might just be the perfect gift. And if you don’t happen to have an ophthalmologist friend, we have a feeling anyone who appreciates art + the science of seeing will love it.
Dome magnifiers 10. Beauty Meets Function: Dome Magnifier. ($12.95+)
Let’s face it – the print in newspapers, magazines, and books is tiny. Regardless of age, it wouldn’t hurt most people if the font was just a few sizes bigger. Enter: the Dome Magnifier. It’s designed better (and looks fancier) than a regular magnifying glass. Sometimes the best gifts are the most practical ones and since The New York Times isn’t doing anything to help our headache, the dome magnifier won’t sit unused.

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