Smart kids tend to love the esoteric, and nothing quite fulfills this tendency better than an obscure academic t-shirt design. The best-known model of this fashion(?) is perhaps the character Sheldon on the TV series The Big Bang Theory. He is rarely seen on the show in anything other than a t-shirt. Sheldon’s shirts feature designs ranging from a periodic tables to the double helix model of DNA. He also sports designs from various comic book super heroes (Superman, The Flash, The Green Lantern) or obscure internet video series (TableTop, The Guild).
When I was teaching I used to receive a small catalog called the Journal of Academic T-Shirts. It was filled with all sorts of designs from music, history and science. It was always a hit when I passed it around in my science classes, and I occasionally ordered something for myself.
When it comes to geek chic, the more obscure the better, as just about anyone can come up with a Periodic Table shirt. But, where can you or the ChemClub students buy such products? Here are a few ideas.
Zazzle has a number of cool shirts on a page titled, “Chemistry Geek Gifts” , from ‘Never Forget’ (the Sliderule) to Maxwell’s Equation. There is also a shirt for ‘the element of surprise’ which features Ah! In the format of a chemical element.
The Think Geek site has a number of shirts and other novelty items, including a Periodic Table shower curtain and a Rutherford-Bohr model atom necklace pendant.
Shirt Woot! has a number of Schodinger’s Cat based shirts and tons of other esoterica. And finally, perhaps the best site of all, Café Press, which listed 288,000 results for a search on ‘science gifts.’ My favorite was one that said “Correlation ≠Causation”. Truer words have never been, well, spoken.