Doing Christmas? Looking for a gift for the pinhead on your list? Check out these Cambridge, Mass. options.
Start in Kendall Square at Xylem, a candy necklace of a gift shop. Their “Geek Chic” selection included a Rubik’s Cube mug and a “hypotrochoid” art set. The store is named for a plant tissue “responsible for transporting water and nutrients from the roots up into the rest of the plant. This vital function allows the plant to live and breathe.”
Over near the T stop, check out the MIT Press Bookstore – where the entire store is a science section. The gift suggestions there include:
“Something for Nothing(by Michael Klein) is a great gift for that grad student or young professor on your list. The novel chronicles David Fox’s first year as a visiting assistant professor of economics in small-town upstate New York. The central dilemma involves David’s decision to publish a paper with a right-wing think tank, but the rest of the story covers his attempts to find a tenure-track job while balancing teaching, research, and a social life. The details will ring true for anyone in academia and, best of all, this book is funny!”
Harvard Bookstore – not affiliated with the college – has a broader selection.
On the Lechmere side of East Cambridge, find Threla, a tiny Cambridge Street storefront. There, find an skin care line created by former MIT grad student Tseh-Hwan Yong.
Threla was conceived out of curiosity and incredulity in a laboratory at MIT. While researching collagen materials for tissue engineering, our founder, Tseh-Hwan Yong, chanced upon collagen face masks containing “nano-lingzhi”. A beauty product devotee, she probed further and was astonished to find claims purporting the “stimulation of collagen production” and “restoration of skin elasticity”. Collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the skin to produce these purported effects. And “nano-lingzhi” sounded like marketing hype about what was probably just an extract of a Chinese herbal mushroom without any special processing to make it “nano”. But what bothered her the most was the host of chemicals in the mask that she couldn’t quite decipher (and she was an MIT PhD…) Were they really needed in a mask that was “natural”? There and then, the idea for Threla was born.
And, for a lab of a different kind, check out the vegan fare at the Clover Food Lab, a bit closer to Inman Square on Cambridge Street. This week’s special – also found on their trucks around town — fruit cake fritters.