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Gift Guide

There’s nothing worse than those difficult-to-buy-for people… unless you’ve got the Popular Science Gift Guide.

Bargain gifts

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What Colour is the Sun?

The sequel to the popular How Many Moons Does the Earth Have, What Colour is the Sun?, contains two full scale quizzes of eight rounds each purely on science questions. Not the kind of boring questions you got asked at school - these are questions to intrigue and delight including:

• Why do hands and feet go wrinkly in the bath?
• What is a chiliagon?
• What is measured in slugs?
• Which scientific term is the most commonly used noun in written English?
• What would win in a fight between T. rex and Godzilla?
• Who can breath metals and still survive?
… and, yes, What colour is the Sun? (which QI gets wrong).

Although the quizzes can be run as actual events, there’s far more to it that than that. You can test yourself on each question, supported by intriguing factoids, then turn the page to not only on find the answer but a page that expands on the result to give an intriguing exploration of science.

As well as six ordinary rounds each quiz has two special bonus rounds featuring photographs or a science-based puzzle challenge. An ideal gift for any science lover from £5.43.
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What Colour is the Sun? - Paperback
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If you’d like a signed copy of What Colour is the Sun? - it makes a great gift - purchase direct below. If you want a personalised inscription, just drop the author an email at brian@brianclegg.net at the same time with the details.
Paperback
£8.99
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Chance

The latest in the New Scientist series arrives just in time for Christmas 2015. An interesting and entertaining collection of articles covering many areas of randomness and probability, it’s a perfect gift for anyone with an interest in maths or the weirdness of random occurrences.

Where the book really shines is when dealing with the way that randomness and probability influence our everyday lives, from legal miscarriages, where probability has been misused to falsely convict, to the good old classic applications of probability like the lottery and the different games in a casino. We’re also always genuinely happy when there's a discussion of Bayes' theorem, which comes up a number of times.

And just £7.99 - even cheaper from Amazon last time we looked.
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Chance - Paperback
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Third QI Book of General Ignorance

The Third Book of General Ignorance gathers together 180 questions, both new and previously featured on the BBC TV programme's popular 'General Ignorance' round, and show why, when it comes to general knowledge, none of us knows anything at all.

Who invented the sandwich? What was the best thing before sliced bread? Who first ate frogs' legs? Which cat never changes its spots? What did Lady Godiva do? What can you legally do if you come across a Welshman in Chester after sunset?

And just £6.99.
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General Ignorance 3 - Paperback
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Too Much Information

Nowadays, the world is full of people trying to tell us things. So much so that we have taught our brains not to pay much attention. After all, click the mouse, tap the screen, flick the channel and it’s on to the next thing. But Dave Gorman thinks it’s time to have a closer look, to find out how much nonsense we tacitly accept.

Suspicious adverts, baffling newspaper headlines, fake twitter, endless cat videos, insane TV shows where the presenters ask the same questions over and over… Although borderline science, certainly of interest to the popular science reader.

A bit of a stretch, but just about a stocking filler at £11.99.
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Too Much Information - Paperback
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Introducing Infinity

Introducing Infinity combines short, bite-sized text segments with superb graphics by Oliver Pugh, designed to reinforce the message. Infinity is a topic you can’t talk about without waving your hands around - and the graphics included here make a huge difference.

Infinity is a profoundly counter-intuitive and brain-twisting subject that has inspired many great thinkers, and driven others to the brink of insanity. See what it can do for you.

An ideal stocking-sized pocket book at just £6.99.
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Introducing Infinity - Paperback
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Buy signed copies
If you’d like a signed copy of Introducing Infinity - it makes a great gift - purchase direct below. If you want a personalised inscription, just drop the author an email at brian@brianclegg.net at the same time with the details.
Paperback
£7.99

Chunky reads

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The Fly Trap

Fredrik Sjöberg's Swedish bestseller about summer, islands, freedom and boundaries.

'The light, the warmth, the smells, the mist, the birdsong - the moths. Who can sleep? Who wants to?'

Fredrik Sjöberg finds happiness in the little things. Millions of them, in fact. This beguiling bestseller is his unique meditation on collecting hoverflies. It is also about living on a remote Swedish island, blissful long summer nights, lost loves, unexpected treasures, art, nature, slowness, and how freedom can come from the things we least expect.

A wonderful escape from the cold winter months. From £9.98
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The Fly Trap - Paperback
The Fly Trap - Hardback
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How Not to be Wrong

In the preface to Jordan Ellenberg's chunky maths book (441 pages before the notes in the version I read) we are introduced to a hypothetical student moaning about having to work through a series of definite integrals and complaining 'When am I going to use this?' What Ellenberg sets out do is to show how we use mathematics all the time - and how important it is to understand it if we are not to get the wrong idea about the world.

It’s about decision making, understanding the numbers we’re surrounded with and generally having a better grasp of the world. Ellenberg has a delightful light touch and is often genuinely funny (it's important to read the footnotes, which Ellenberg, like Terry Pratchett, uses for a lot of his jokes).

Paperback from £6.29 and hardback from £20.
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How Not to be Wrong - Paperback
How Not to be Wrong - Hardback
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The Quantum Age

The Stone Age, the Iron Age, the Steam and Electrical Ages all saw the reach of humankind transformed by new technology. Now we are living in the Quantum Age, a revolution in everyday life led by our understanding of the very, very small.

Today, technologies based on quantum physics account for 30 per cent of US GDP, and yet quantum particles such as atoms, electrons and photons remain enigmatic, acting totally unlike the objects we experience directly. Weird quantum behaviour is also essential to nature. From the mechanism of the Sun to quantum biology in our eyesight, photosynthesis in plants and the ability of birds to navigate, quantum effects are key.

Quantum physics lies at the heart of every electronic device, every smartphone and laser, and now quantum superconductors have moved out of the lab to make levitating trains and MRI scanners possible, while soon superfast, ultra-secure quantum computers may be a reality. From £8.99
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The Quantum Age - Hardback
The Quantum Age - Paperback
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Buy signed copies
If you’d like a signed copy of The Quantum Age - it makes a great gift - purchase direct below. If you want a personalised inscription, just drop the author an email at brian@brianclegg.net at the same time with the details.
Paperback
£9.99
£11.99
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I Think You’ll Find It’s a Bit More Complicated than That

The very best journalism from one of Britain’s most admired and outspoken science writers, author of the bestselling Bad Science and Bad Pharma.

In ‘Bad Science’, Ben Goldacre hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science. In ‘Bad Pharma’, he put the $600 billion global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. Now the pick of the journalism by one of our wittiiest, most indignant and most fearless commentators on the worlds of medicine and science is collected in one volume.

From £11.29
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I Think You’ll Find It’s a Bit More Complicated than That - Paperback

Science fun

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Lab Flasks Salt and Pepper

Inspired by the classic Erlenmeyer chemistry flask the Earl salt and pepper shakers take on the iconic lab ware aesthetic and combine materials which are recycled, recyclable or sustainable in a practical and contemporary design solution. More to the point - the scientist in your life will love them.
  • Dimensions approx: 50mm dia x 85mm. Materials: Borosilicate Glass, Cork Stopper. Glass - dishwasher safe, dry thoroughly.
  • Drilled holes in the custom made corks allow for the perfect shake of your favourite condiments.

Comes in at £13.01 or less. (Note US version is a different design.)
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Lab Flasks Salt and Pepper
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Periodic Table Mug

This mug has the Periodic Table of the Elements around it. We have one in the Popular Science office and love it.
  • Very colourful design with great detail.
  • Would make a great gift for a Science Teacher or Student.
  • Approx. Measurements: 9.5cm x 8cm.
  • Comes within a box.

Priced at £7.99. (Note US version is a different design.)
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Periodic Table Mug
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Nuclear Physics Socks

Features Nuclear Physics terminology and sample graphics. Okay, you might usually think that socks are boring. But everyone needs socks. And nuclear physics socks?!
  • 65% cotton, 33% nylon and 2% elastane
  • 65% Cotton 33% Nylon 2% Elastane
  • Size 6-11

Priced at £6.45. (Note US version is a different, math socks, design.)
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Nuclear Physics/Math socks
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Stargazers’ Almanac 2017

The format is one of a large month-by-month calendar, but instead of having spaces to write in when you take the dog to the vets, the children to the cinema or vice versa, it has two big spreads of the horizon, looking North and looking South on the 15th of the month at 10pm GMT from a UK viewpoint. With this in hand you should be able to explore the night sky and sort out Andromeda from Perseus. As well as constellations it shows the positions of planets, points out interesting stars, and, yes, shows the phase of the moon through the month. A great gift for any amateur astronomer.
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Stargazers’ Almanac 2017

Clothes and more

The amazing Forbidden Planet store has a wide range of gift options - we've selected clothing, but try books, magazines, games…

Not found that perfect gift?

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