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Five books for the science students in your life


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If you’re like me and somehow found yourself surrounded by science students for friends, Christmas can be a bit tricky.

What gift is suitable for a physics student? Computer science? Biology? Luckily, we found a few novels that might bring the science student some book joy.

Image courtesy of Intel Free Press on Flickr

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

The publishing date of 1895 might put someone off reading this text, but Wells' novella remains timeless - and its short length won’t intimidate that one science student that hasn’t read a book since GCSE’s.

The tale follows Victorian English scientist and inventor identified only as the Time Traveller as he tests his new time travelling machine. The Time Traveller stops in A.D 802,701 where he comes across the Eloi, a society of small adults the narrator compares to children. His time with the Eloi is not simple when his machine is stolen and he is tasked with trying to find his only way to get back home.

Wells is credited with coining the term ‘time machine’ and popularising the concept of time travel, so this book is perfect for a friend who is fascinated by time travel.

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Similarly to Wells, Gibson coined the term cyberspace in his 1984 science fiction novel Neuromancer. This is definitely a spot-on gift for someone who loves virtual reality and cyberpunk aesthetic.

Set in the future, we follow washed-up computer hacker Henry Case who is hired by Armitage, a mysterious master criminal to help an artificial intelligence merge with its twin into a superconsciousness.  

Not exactly the easiest read, but definitely a fascinating concept and if you have a friend who already understands virtual worlds then this novel will be exactly what they want.

Dune by Frank Herbert

In this future world, Nobel houses are in control of entire planets and owe allegiance to the Padishah Emperor. The story follows Paul Atreides, whose family accepts stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis, which s the only source of valuable oracular spice melange, making this a dangerous undertaking for the family.

The first instalment of the Dune saga, this novel was originally published as two serials in Analog magazine in 1965. If this is a successful gift, your friend might just find a new favourite series.

A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking

Moving away from fiction, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is a key contender for a perfect gift. The late British physicist explores the structure, origin, development and fate of the universe using basic concepts of space and time. The novel has sold over 10 million copies in last two decades and has also been featured on the Sunday Times bestseller list for more than five years.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

American Author Bill Bryson explores nearly everything from chemistry to palaeontology to astronomy, and particle physics. No matter what kind of science your friend takes, they’re bound to find something of interest and might even learn a thing or two.

If you enjoyed this, check out more of our Christmas gift ideas here: books for politically minded friends, and for history nerds.

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