Both my wife and I are science nerds. I taught it, she does it for a living. And every Christmas for the past four years I’ve been getting her a new sub-atomic particle from The Particle Zoo. Physics fan Julie Peasley came up with the fantastic idea, and makes all of them by herself, by hand.
What are they?
Stuffed, plush, sub-atomic particles that make up the universe! And they are awesome. You can buy the basics: Protons, Neutrons, Electrons, or dive into some of the more interesting particles like the legendary Higgs Boson, or the zippy little Tachyon.
What’s more is Julie’s attention to detail. Each individual stuffed particle is made to resemble the true particle. Heavy particles are filled with things like sand or pebbles, while light particles are filled with polyester fluff. Of course there is a whole range of particle weights so each one is different. Plus, if the particle is made up of even tinier particles, Julie includes those zipped up inside! Genius. For instance, I bought my wife a “Big” Proton a few years ago and since a Proton is made of two Up-Quarks, one Down-Quark, and a Gluon, little tiny versions were stuffed inside the Proton. Adorable.
Particles are available individually or you can by “Particle Packs,” where Julie has put together particles that are similar.
Thus far I’ve given my wife a Proton, Neutron, Electron, and a Higgs Boson. Who knows what I’ll get her this year! I also am contemplating grabbing a holiday mini-particle ornament pack because they’d be perfect ornaments for the Christmas tree.
We’ve got all ours on a shelf along with other science nerd-like stuff. My wife used the Higgs Boson as a paper-weight in grad school because it’s such a heavy particle. She loved it and everyone always asked her what it was and where she got it. So if you’ve got a sciencey-type in your family and you want to get them something super-cool but also super-adorable, nothing beats giving the building blocks of the universe!