The Gift Guide for Science Lovers

It’s that time of year when you are trying to decide the perfect gift for loved ones. If one of those loved ones is a science enthusiast, then we have some ideas that will not break your budget but will be perfectly science-y.

 

  1. usb_microscopeUSB Microscopes.

Microscopes are a lot of fun, but are not usually very portable. However, USB microscopes are lightweight and small. You simply plug the microscope into your laptop and start looking at the world up close and personal! If you are planning on giving this as a Christmas gift, make sure to order early so that your USB microscope arrives in time. Free shipping when you order microscopes from ThunderStone Books!

 

  1. Gallium.

Gallium is an element that has a melting point of 85.58 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that gallium will start to melt if you hold it in your hand for a little while. If you want to really have some fun, buy your friend some gallium and a spoon mold; then your science-lover can put the gallium in the spoon mold and then use the gallium spoon to stir hot liquid and watch it melt!

 

  1. cover_2eoeoutlineScience Books.Elements of Evil notebook cover.indd

One of the best things about Christmas vacation is that there is finally some down time for reading and so a science book could be the Christmas gift that keeps your science-lover occupied all Christmas vacation. If you are looking for science books for adults, here are some of our favorites:

  • The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
  • What If? by Randall Munro
  • Hyperspace by Michio Kaku
  • Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman

If you are looking for science books for kids, it is good to choose something with experiments that can be performed at home (and make for exciting Christmas vacation activities). Check out Elements of Evil and the corresponding Your Elements of Evil Notebook because it is full of codes, wacky experiments, and supervillainy. What young science enthusiast can resist that?

 

  1. Makey Makey

This little device turns ordinary objects into touchpads and combines them with the internet. Last year for Christmas, ThunderStone Books co-founder Robert Noorda used his Makey Makey to play the song “Jingle Bells” with people. He gave several wires to family members to hold (the wires were connected to the Makey Makey) and then by tapping the heads of family members, Rob could play the song. It was a blast! You can visit http://www.makeymakey.com/ for more information.

 

  1. Invisible Ink

There are two things that would be easy to do with invisible ink as a gift. For one, you could make an invisible ink kit for your science-lover. The great thing about such a kit is that you only need regular household items like lemon juice, Q-tips, grape juice, baking soda, and containers (depending on what kinds of invisible ink you are making). Another idea is to make your own invisible ink and use it to write a series of letters as a gift. Make sure to give your science-lover instructions about how to read the messages!


CheMystery

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What if two kids became superheroes and set out to save the world through chemistry? In a new exciting and educational graphic novel from ThunderStone Books, two kids do just that!

ThunderStone Books is proud to officially announce that in March 2017, CheMystery, the tale of science and superpowers, will be hitting the shelves.

Today we welcome author, Christopher Preece, who is going to introduce himself CheMystery, his upcoming graphic novel.

 

 

I hail from the foothills of Appalachia in Pilgrim, KY. I have an extensive background in chemistry with a B.S. from Morehead State University and many graduate chemistry credits from the University of Kentucky, where I will be continuing my education to obtain a Ph.D. in Science Education. I have been teaching high school chemistry for the past 5 years, which has been a blast, literally and figuratively. I enjoy reading comic books, traveling and eating. We all have to eat, why not make it an adventure? I love all things science, especially physical science and applying those concepts in different ways to educate others.
Chriswebsite

How did you get the idea for CheMystery?

The idea for a comic that teaches chemistry started to manifest after reading 3 comics: Solar: Man of the Atom by Jim Shooter (Dark Horse series), Suspended Language by Jim Ottaviani, Howtoons by Fred Van Lente and Think Tank by Matt Hawkins. I read all of these around the same time and each contributed a little more to the idea of a chemistry comic to teach being a possibility. Each contributed a unique idea to the melting pot from how to present heavy educational materials along side a narrative to how to integrate it into a narrative.

Do you have a favorite element?

Yes, 2 in fact. Mercury (Hg), which I did my graduate research on how to remediate it from coal burning power plants. How cool is it that it’s the ONLY liquid metal? Antimony (Sb) is the other favorite. Initially it was my favorite because of the obscure name and name and symbol mismatch but it has a lot of interesting chemistry and uses, like in cosmetics to provide luster!

What first got you interested in comics and graphic novels?

My uncle, Dan, was in the comic industry while I was growing up and his love of the medium spilled over to me. My passion for the medium has continued to evolve into incorporate my passion for science education. Firestorm is one of my favorite characters and his ability to transmutate matter always fascinated me.

Why do you love science, especially chemistry?

As a high school student I gravitated toward chemistry. The concept of atoms and subatomic particles really captivated me. To think that we are made of trillions upon trillions of atoms, and that a single one is invisible to the naked eye, is wild. To think that electrons orbit the atom and move to make light is intriguing and to think about how an electron is both a particle and a wave is mind-blowing. There are so many things in our world that are unknown and science helps us explain those things.

What comic books and graphic novels would you recommend for science lovers?

There are more out there than you would think!

Jim Ottaviani has written several great science graphic novels, which take us through the lives of great scientists like Neil Bohr. Suspended Language is my favorite, but all his books are very enjoyable.

Think Tank by Matt Hawkins, which has a science section in the back explaining all the science he researches and uses in his book.

Howtoons by Fred Van Lente. This is a comic geared toward engineering. It has a captivating narrative and shows how to make cool contraptions that are used in the story.

Most things that captivate me I discuss on my blog.

What are your favorite comic books and graphic novels?

As for non-science comics some of my favorites include: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW), Princess Ugg (Oni Press), Scott Pilgrim (Oni Press), Solar: Man of the Atom (Dark Horse), Captain America by Ed Brubaker (Marvel), Inhumans by Paul Jenkins (Marvel), Firestorm by Gerry Conway (DC) and Legion of Superheroes by Mark Waid (DC).

 

Chemystery page 3Chemystery page 2Chemystery page 1

 

Thanks, Chris, for introducing yourself and your upcoming book! You can look out for CheMystery, coming March 2017. Check out more at his website!


The Inspiration for Elements of Evil

A blog post from the author of Elements of Evil.

Note from ThunderStone Books: The road that led to the publishing of Elements of Evil was paved from a young age by those who got us excited about science. These taught us that science is more than a class at school, it’s a way of looking at the world. Through authors like Brooke Arnold, Bill Nye and Ms. Frizzle not only live on but continue to reach and inspire new generations.

Brookearnoldnewauthorphoto

When people hear that I wrote and published a book, usually their first reaction is “Wow! Really?” followed by “What’s it about?” I get mixed reactions when they hear that it’s about a girl who wants to become a supervillain by using science. Most kids get a big grin on their face. Most adults do a double-take, usually accompanied by either an appreciative laugh or a quizzical smile. “Where on earth did that come from?” they seem to be asking. To me, it just makes sense.

Bill Nye

When I was little, even while I dreamed about becoming a “draw-er” or “professional horse rider,” I also loved watching shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy or The Magic School Bus and learning about how things work. I’ve always discovering the “how” and “why” about life, especially things that seemed particularly mysterious.

The curly hair and love for science are just a few of the things that Brooke and Ms Frizzle have in common!

I feel that way about books too–hand-waving should be used judiciously. You should always be able to explain why and how something happens. So when I grew up and decided to write a story about a child supervillain, I realized I had a challenge to overcome. Superheroes and supervillains aren’t “super” without an extra something to make them that way (like Dr. Horrible’s freeze ray or Superman’s x-ray vision). Rather than trying to create my own magic or use fake inventions, I realized I wanted my super-person to use something that already exists: real-life science. To a little girl like Bernice in my story, and to a grown-up girl like me, that was by far the most sensible thing. After all, the reality of life is as magical and powerful as anything imaginary.

Elements of Evil is available now from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes and Noble, or our website here!


Elements of Evil Launches!

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Brooke Arnold, author and scientist, announced Bernice and Bunsen to the world on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at Provo Library in Utah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There were activities such as coloring, code-cracking, playing with oobleck and seeing the world through a microscope to entertain all the young scientists in attendance.

 

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And don’t forget delicious veggies, “worms” and Bunsen cupcakes: food fit for a hedgehog!

 

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Congratulations to Brooke on her brilliant debut, with many more Bernice and Bunsen adventures to come in the future.

 

 

 

You can get your own copy of Elements of Evil here.