December 20, 2013
The annual Georneys “What to Buy a Geologist for Christmas” list is a little late this year. Sorry about that– I’ve been extremely busy recently, primarily with work. There are some changes afoot in my professional life– I’ll provide an update on that when I can. I feel that December has just flown by. I can’t believe that there are now only 5 days until Christmas! However, there is still one shopping weekend left before Christmas (or Newtonmas, for those of you who aren’t particularly relgious). So, I thought I’d once again suggest some things that a geologist might like for Christmas. Be sure to also check out the 2010 (Part I and Part II), 2011, and 2012 lists. And happy holidays!
Without further ado, here are some suggestions of what to buy the geologist in your family for Christmas:
Gift #1: LEGO Curiosity Mars Rover
For the planetary scientist in the family, a LEGO Curiosity Mars Rover makes the perfect gift! Your family member will first enjoy (as scientists and engineers do) assembling the gift and then will enjoy playing with the gift. No doubt the LEGO Curiosity will become a fixture in your family member’s office or research laboratory.
Buying the LEGO Curiosity is important because the design came into production through voting for a fan-based design on LEGO’s CUUSOO website. Please buy LEGO Curiosity so that LEGO can see that scientific models sell and will consider producing more of them in the future. Personally, I still very much hope that LEGO will produce the Alvin Deep Sea Submergence Vehicle model– so go vote for that model, too!
Unfortunately, the LEGO Curiosity is only being released on January 1st. However, you could make up a little voucher for the gift and put it in a card.
Gift #2: Munsell Color Chart Book
Geologists, particularly soil scientists, enjoy describing the colors of the samples that they study. The best way to accurately and consistently describe the colors of soils and rocks is to use a color system. One of the best color systems, particularly for soil colors, is the Munsell color system. In order to follow this system, the colors of soils or rocks must be compared to standard color charts, which are available in books published by Munsell. There are two books: one with soil color charts and one with rock color charts.
Cost: $198 for the soil book and $78 for the rock book
Gift #3: 3D Earth Puzzle
Geologists love globes, and many geologists also like puzzles. For the puzzle-loving geologist in your family, a 3D Earth puzzle could be the perfect gift. There are a few companies who make 3D Earth puzzles. The picture above is a nice puzzle by Ravensburger that is available on Amazon.com here.
Cost: $20 to $50
Gift #4: A Geology Themed Book
I’ve suggested geology books before in my “What to Buy a Geologist for Christmas” lists. There are many excellent geology books– both technical scientific books and popular science books. Here are a few geology themed popular science books that I’ve read recently and enjoyed:
The Last Giant of Beringia: The Mystery of the Bering Land Bridge by Dan O’Neill. This is a book about David Hopkins, a famous geologist who recognized the importance of the Bering Land Bridge and made significant contributions to the understanding of the geological history of the Beringia region.
A Fish Caught in Time: The Search for the Coelacanth by Samantha Weinberg. This book is about the Coelacanth, a fish that was originally thought to have gone extinct at the end of the Cretaceous but which was discovered alive off the coast of South Africa in 1938.
Diamond by Matthew Hart. This is a well-written book exploring diamonds and the diamond industry. The subtitle of the book varies depending on the edition.
Cost: Variable, generally $15 to $20
Gift #5: Amber Jewelry with Fossil Insect
I’ve always wanted a piece of amber jewelry with a fossil insect (or several) inside the amber. I don’t own such a piece of jewelry but hope to some day. While the non-geologists in your family might not appreciate such amber jewelry, the geologist in your family is bound to love such a gift. If you want to make the gift really great, throw in a copy of Jurassic Park. Although it is scientifically implausible that dinosaur DNA could be preserved in an insect fossil in amber, the jewelry and book combination will nevertheless make a super fun gift for a geologist.
Cost: Variable, generally $100 to $250
Gift #6: Planet Earth DVD Set
This BBC documentary series came out in 2007 and features some stunning footage of the Earth in episodes with themes such as “Caves”, “Deserts”, and “Jungles”. The series is currently available for a bargain on Amazon.com.
Cost: $50 to $80 (depending on whether or not it’s on sale)
Gift #7: Rock Fabric
Is the geologist in your family fond of sewing? Or are you fond of sewing? Then why not buy some rock fabric that can be made into a fun tote bag, tablecloth, shirt, skirt, or other item? There are some lovely rock fabrics available. For example, here is one and here is another for sale on the Keepsake Quilting website. Be prepared, however, for some puns about rock fabric.
Cost: About $10 per yard of fabric
Gift #8: Hanging Luggage Scale
All geologists have had a conversation that goes something like this:
Airport Check-In Agent: Woah. This bag is really heavy. What do you have in here, rocks?
Geologist: Of course. I’m a geologist.
Rocks are heavy, and thus the bags of geologists are often heavy– either with geological samples collected during field work or with souvenir rocks collected during holidays. A portable hanging luggage scale can help the geologist in your family carefully distribute rocks in their various bags in order to avoid airline overweight charges and/or annoying last-minute repacking in an airline check-in queue.
Cost: About $15 to $20
Gift #9: Waterproof and Shockproof Digital Camera
Geologists like taking pictures but often need a sturdy camera that isn’t affected by the elements (rain, sleet, snow) and which can withstand being knocked around in a field bag or accidentally dropped a few feet. Thus, a waterproof and shockproof camera is a great gift for a geologist. Personally, my geologist husband and I own this Canon waterproof and shockproof camera and are very happy with it.
Cost: Variable, generally $100 to $300
Gift #10: Safari Vest
When they work in the field, geologists carry many things: notebooks, pencils, rulers, compasses, GPS devices, bottles of acid, hand lenses, snacks, maps, and so on. Geologists often want easy access to the various items that they carry into the field. Thus, a Safari Vest (a vest with many pockets, usually in a tan or green color) is a perfect garment for geologists to wear in the field. If the geologist in your family does not yet own a Safari Vest (or even if they do– the vests wear out after awhile), consider giving them one for Christmas.
Cost: About $50 for a good quality vest