Science-themed decor that will actually look good in your house

Nerdy art doesn’t have to look dorky.

eletrophoresis
A watercolor depiction of an electrophoresis gel.sandraculliton

There's a ton of nerdy artwork out there, but far too much of it is—we'll say it—ugly. Which is a shame because science is beautiful. These prints highlight that beauty while also allowing you to express your inner dork. You may have to explain some of these to your house guests, but think of as an opportunity to teach your friends something new and exciting.

Urine chemistry poster
Urine chemistry poster.Etsy

This looks like a lovely abstract painting of various colored dots, which means when people compliment you on it innocently you get to say “thank you! It’s urinalysis results.” Yes, each row on this poster represents a specific urine test, and the colors show the various results that test can have. Relish how beautiful a gross test can be and hang this beauty on your wall ASAP.

Bacteria poster
Bacteria poster.Etsy

As anyone who’s looked through a quality microscope knows, microbes are beautiful. They create their own little art, especially when stained, and this poster shows that off. Bonus points for giving this to someone who can identify them without looking at the included ID card.

Tree of life poster
Tree of life poster.Etsy

Is this a precise rendering of the best information we have on the genetic relations of every species on Earth? No. Will it remind you of old-timey phylogenetic trees and make you feel like perhaps Darwin himself drew this? Yes. Plus you get to learn what the heck “vermes” were!

Wooden model of the solar system
Wooden model of the solar system.Etsy

The original orreries were geocentric models of the solar system, since they predated the Copernican revolution, but this one—like all modern versions—is heliocentric. You can use this fairly simple one to predict the phases of the moon and see the Earth's tilt in relation to the Sun. Or you can just put it on your bookshelf and let it look pretty. Either way. $60.

Moonscape
MoonscapeEtsy

This is a wooden carving made from actual topographical scans that NASA made from the moon. And you can hang it on your wall. Honestly, don't even get this for anyone else just buy it for yourself. $141.

star chart
Apollo 11 Star Chart.CognitiveSurplus

When Apollo 11 went to the moon, they had to use stars to help calculate their position in space. They used this chart. Okay, not literally this exact chart, but this print is much more beautiful. $30.

ernst haeckel marine biology illustration
Ernst Haeckel marine biology prints, set of 4.QuantumPrints

Ernst Haeckel held quite a few incorrect beliefs about evolution, but his biological illustrations helped popularize Darwin's dense, academic texts. They're intricate and colorful, and if you don't like this particular one there are many more to choose from. $24 for set of 4.

eletrophoresis
Electrophoresis watercolor print.sandraculliton

The monotony of running endless electrophoresis gels can easily overshadow the incredible feat of engineering that allows us to separate bits of DNA by size inside a gelatinous rectangle, then see them glowing under a special light. This watercolor highlights the beauty of that process, with none of the tedium. $16.

igg antibodies
Immunoglobulin G watercolor print.sandraculliton

Immunoglobulin G is the most common type of antibody—the first line of defense against an infection. They're normally not this lovely, but rendered in watercolor they take on kind of an abstract beauty. $16.

NASA vintage travel posters
NASA's vintage-style travel posters.FineArtUSA

For anyone who's ever wanted a vintage travel poster to hang over their couch, here is a much cheaper and nerdier alternative. NASA created a series of these (which you could actually print on your own), and many an Etsy artist has framed them. These are particularly nice. $7 each.

geological chart
1893 geological chart (print).PencilofNaturePrints

Levi Walter Yaggy has perhaps the greatest name ever, and the silliness of it belies his profession and passion: to create intricate geological charts for educational purposes. They are, however, lovely and have a nice vintage look to them so your hipster friends will think it's cool. $35+.

bacteriophages
Bacteriophage watercolor print.MimiPrints

Scientists are still debating whether bacteriophages—viruses that infect bacteria by injecting their genetic material into them—are alive or not, but that won't matter to you as you gaze at the vibrant, lively colors in this print. $13.

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