Fabulous Gifts for (Past, Present and Future) Kickass STEM Humans


So a few of y’all commented on Laura’s STEM gift guide for kiddos and said, “but what about STEM ladies and such who are big kids now?” Adult STEM queers, rejoice! Here’s how to inject a little science, technology, engineering and maths into your holiday gift giving this year. If you’ve got a STEM person on your list (or hey, someone who wants to transition into a STEM field), here are some toys, clothes and games for the big kids.



Giant Microbe: Common Cold, $9. That little guy is p. cute.

Cosmos by Carl Sagan, $15. Just the first gift suggestion in a long line of gift suggestions that illustrates my bias toward space.

Psych 101 by Paul Kleinmen, $16. For the person who’s a bit curious about the inside of our heads.

Periodic Table Shower Curtain, $30. Behind the curtain, we have H2O. <–I’m so funny.

Chemist’s Cocktail Kit, $30. Combining all my loves and interests, really. This is also probably true of you and yours.

Let It Beetle Pillow, $35. I see you, biologists. I didn’t forget you.

When The Planets A-Dine Plate Set, $45. Doesn’t include Pluto :0(

The Art of Science Advanced Trivia Game, $50. It’s basically all the hardest categories in Trivial Pursuit.

Dinosaur Wall Art, $80. And for the paleontologists in the crowd!

Star Theater Home Planetarium, $120. Lives in a light polluted area? Is a space nerd? No problem!



Internet shirt, $12. The internet is made of cats. Also comes in a variety of other clothing types/art prints/iPhone cases.

Hot Binary Mug, $12. The binary for “hot” appears when you pour hot liquid in it. Great for both early morning and late night coding. And during the day. We have coffee at all hours, let’s be real.

Tickets to The Imitation Game, price varies depending on location. It opened on November 28th (yesterday). It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, so basically it is everything.

Magnetic Project Mat, $20. Keeps screws and such from rolling about, super helpful for anyone building their own computer.

There’s No Place Like Door Mat, $60. So people know what they’re getting into before they even come in.

Three Month Subscription to Treehouse, $75. Treehouse is probably the best tool out there for teaching yourself coding. This makes a really cool “oh shit, I need this gift right now” gift, because your recipient will get an email instantaneously.

Game Console and Electronics Refurb Kit, $100. For those who want to crack open their Wii and see what’s inside*.

*Please don’t break your Wii.



Tesla v. Edison Tee, $10. Cue argument in the comments! Are you #TeamTesla? Or #TeamEdison?

Beginner Solder Kit, $16. For the person who might, in future, build our new robot overlords.

Magnetic Accelerator Canon, $30. Bowl with science at your office party/desk.

Tracktic, $35. Create the longest path to win, otherwise known as “everyone will beat me, personally, at this game; have at it engineers.” It’s sort of a mix between tic-tac-toe and Othello.

Strandbeest Kit, $35. Build a creepy alien spider that walks in the wind!

Robotic Arm Kit, $50. No soldering required, pictures exist of this robo-arm playing chess which is amazing.

Discovering Arduino Kit, $70. If your loved one wants a crash course in both electricity and Arduino, check this one out.

3D Printing Doodler Pen, $100. This is actually supposed to be extremely difficult to use, and I feel like only the engineers at heart will be able to pull the sword from the stone.

DIY Nixie Tube Thermometer Kit, $180. Soldering definitely required, all sorts of dangerous parts, not for the faint of heart.



Zombies & Calculus by Colin Adams, $20. It’s a novel. About a calculus professor. Battling zombies. Using calculus. I can’t make this shit up.

The Mathematic Cube: 3D Logic Puzzle, $20. This puzzle is so maths-person oriented that I can’t even conceptualize actually ever solving it.

Pi by the Numbers Fleece Blanket, $20. Wrap your beloved nerd in the first 413 digits of Pi. Then feed them pie. #perfectholigay

How Not To Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg, $23. Not your basic book about math. Written earlier this year, it definitely goes deeper than your normal mainstream math book

Pop Quiz Clock, $25. Just ask your students to tell you the time and assign grade accordingly.

Fresh Take Leggings, $25. For lounging and solving.

I Know My Calculous Shot Glass Set, $40. For after grading exams.

Three Player Circular Chess, $50. Perfect for rest between solving equations.

Cute and Astute Necklace, $100. Yes, it was featured on the Nerdy Love Song gift guide last year, but it’s still real cute. And astute. And worthy of being featured again.

This has been the one-hundred-sixth installment of  Queer Your Tech with Fun, Autostraddle’s nerdy tech column. Not everything we cover is queer per se, but we talk about customizing this awesome technology you’ve got. Having it our way, expressing our appy selves just like we do with our identities. Here we can talk about anything from app recommendations to choosing a wireless printer to web sites you have to favorite to any other fun shit we can do with technology. Header by Rory Midhani. 

Feature image via Shutterstock.

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. Great post! As someone who works in a creative field, it can often be difficult to come up with gift ideas for my friends with STEM careers.
    Thanks for helping me get started with my holiday shopping :)

  2. SCIENCE. (I mean basically that’s my reaction to p. much everything I’m excited about but especially in this case because it actually applies.)

  3. See i fool myself into thinking i’m over getting presents but then i realize it’s because most of the gift stuff i see holds no interest for me.

    I want all the things on this list with the unreasonable intensity of a five year old that still believes in Santa. *grabbyhands*

  4. The Art of Science Trivia Game is out of stock at Amazon, where the link above takes you, but I just found it in stock at thinkgeek.

  5. Oh my goodness all these things are the best!!! I need to pick out something I want for Christmas from here so my mom will quit asking me if I want flannel sheets.

    ALSO has anyone seen the Imitation Game?? Is it good? I really want to see it but I hate spending 10 bucks on a movie. But I feel like I would love this one because I am strangely obsessed with the history of computers and also World War II history.

    • I haven’t seen it, but apparently they really downplayed his gayness and over emphasized his relationship with Joan Clark, and it’s partially historically inaccurate. (And of COURSE they chose a straight man to play a man who was literally chemically castrated for being in a relationship with another man so that’s problematic) So I can’t decide if I really wanna go see it or not.

    • Okay, so I agree with the “why de-emphasize the gayness point.” But I also really like Benedict Cumberbatch? Like if I was even a little bit straight I’d probably find him attractive, plus I really loved him in National Theatre’s Frankenstein (he can ACT, oy). So overall I’m excited. But I also will go see anything Turing-related ever.

  6. I actually have the shower curtain and a giant stuffed microbe, except I have the flu because the cold is too common, and I like lvd life on the extreme. They have all different kinds of bacteria, viruses, and parasites to choose from. I gave my brother the stuffed chickenpox one a few years ago because I gave him (actual) chickenpox when we were kids/teens (I’m a generous sibling like that). It’s really cute and whimsical for such an obnoxious virus – it has a little red “wattle” like a real chicken.

  7. Yes to everything on this list.

    As someone who owns Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”, I can guarantee that it’s an amazing read.

  8. Oh my goodness, I never knew you could get mini strandbeests, I love them so much!

    Also, #TeamTesla all the way

  9. I completely forgot Othello was the name of a game and thought of “a mix between tic-tac-toe and Othello” was something like it starts out with Xs and Os and then someone tricks you into murder. What an intense board game.

  10. So let’s See if this works, i’m obviously not a computer kind of nerd, but here we go:

    If it works out,this should be a picture of the periodic table that Cosima has framed over her bed. Like Orphan Black’s Cosima.
    I got mine at allposters and put it in a dark, fancy, cheap frame.

  11. Since it worked out so swimmingly, another idea would be a Ravenclaw bathrobe and a karyogram for your bathroom door. It’s the übernerdy way to say “woman’s bathroom”. Get it? Karyogram of a woman on the bathroom door?
    Ahem, anyways…

    Also, check out the “i heart guts”page for the doctor/nurse/organenthusiast in your life.Total win, and owned by women.

  12. I love the maths clock idea sooo much, but I just can’t handle the idea that 3(pi – 0.14) = 9. It’s just wrong, and I couldn’t live in a house with that displayed on the wall.

  13. Want. All except for the Strandbeest ripoff! Buy the original designs from the artist, Theo Jansen, so that he can build many more of his enormous beests and populate the world with them. Only a few bucks more for real real.

  14. Thanks to this gift guide, I have a gloriously challenging new math cube to solve! (It came SCRAMBLED in the box though, which is a little like getting a jigsaw puzzle with no picture of the end result!). Best gift guide of the year!

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