You don't have to be a lab geek to appreciate the aesthetic appeal of many aspects of science.
There's something graphically poetic about a blackboard full of math formulas. Laboratory vessels epitomize simple yet elegant purposefulness. And more broadly, so many of the sciences astronomy, geology, chemistry, for example are filled with elements that can be interwoven into a room's decor for a look that's offbeat and chic.
Pottery Barn has some interesting early 20th century Romanian tonic and elixir bottles with cool labels that would make an interesting display.
AP Photo - - This product image, courtesy of Thinkgeek.com, shows the Pop Quiz blackboard-style clock with math equations for clock numbers.
AP Photo - - Coolstuffexpress.com features Good Chemistry salt and pepper shakers, porcelain shakers
labeled with the chemical formula for salt and a correlating typographical expression for pepper.
AP Photo - - The Kinetic Motion rolling ball clock uses steel rolling balls in telling time.
At Think Geek, there's a clever cocktail set that includes an Erlenmeyer flask and test-tube shot glasses, plus a glass mixing rod eighth-period chemistry was never this fun. There's a chalkboard-style wall clock with the hours depicted in mathematical formulas, which will either fascinate or frighten your household's time watchers. Find here, too, a glass beaker mug for the morning's brew of hot trimethylxanthine (or caffeine, for short).
A kinetic motion clock with steel rolling balls a real "time machine" is at CoolStuffExpress.com. Porcelain shakers labeled with salt and pepper's chemical names would make a fun gift.
For earth science lovers, consider Plantation Goods' amethyst crystal bowls and spheres unusual and beautiful collector's items. Aspiring entomologists will love the intricately carved bone insects and sea creatures. These detailed, articulated sculptures were first crafted in iron by 18th-century sword makers and later applied to first ivory, now bone. There are butterflies, dragonflies, crayfish, crab and lobsters.
Globes are great items to decorate with. Look for cool antique ones that depict the world in early configurations.
If you're lucky, you may even find lunar globes. Early versions are blank on one side, because before 1960, nobody knew what was on the dark side. The USSR's Luna 3 probe found out in 1959, but the Cold War meant Americans had to wait till 1968 when Apollo 8 orbited the moon to update our globes.
Globes look great as a collection on the perimeter of a room, on a high shelf or gathered on a sideboard so guests can explore them. Hang several inexpensive ones from the ceiling for an interesting take on a mobile.
Desktop versions take full advantage of today's technology. Earth Tech Products has the Terra Magic rotating globe, which floats and rotates above any flat surface. The City Lights globe shows the world's major cities as they look from space at night, when room lights are lowered.
Z Gallerie is stocking glass-coated canvas photoprints like James McLaughlin Way's "Anvil No. 9," a startling photograph of a thunderhead above a grain field wonderful for a weather lover. Sophia Fox's "Electric Shell" series includes high-resolution colored images of nautilus and conch shells; they're powerful pieces of modern art, even for the armchair marine biologist.