The Hungry Scientist Handbook

 Today is the official release date for the Hungry Scientist Handbook, a new book by Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns.

The Hungry Scientist Handbook was conceived as a sort of cookbook for geek-centric food and– using the word a different way– as an a cookbook for food-oriented electronics– as evidenced by projects varying from polyhedral pies to LED lollipops.

We met Patrick and Lily at the 2006 Maker Faire, where they invited us to contribute a couple of chapters to their project. We did, and it’s finally out!

(We aren’t the only ones who are excited– we’ve seen write-ups at the LA Times and
Wired this week.)

A Computer Chip Trivet   Refrigerator magnetscrane crouton   12.  Fire!

We contributed a total of nine projects to the Hungry Scientist Handbook, some of which we have written about here. These include the Computer Chip Trivets, Crafty fridge magnets, Edible Origami, and (making a cameo appearance) the Lego Trebuchet.

Dry Ice Martini   Cold DrinkDry Ice Lemonade

We also contributed a few new cooking projects that involve dry ice: Dry (Ice) Martinis, Fizzy dry ice lemonade, and Dry ice root beer. (With Floating bubbles on CO2 as a bonus project.)

Smart Coasters   Smart Coasters

Smart Coasters

And… a brand new exclusive Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories electronics project that we developed just for the Hungry Scientist Handbook: Smart Coasters.
Smart Coasters are cast-plastic coasters for your drink that light up red when you put a hot drink on top and light up blue with a cold drink. The design is fully analog– no microcontrollers and no programming– and they incorporate a solar cell so that the whole thing is hermetically sealed: waterproof and washable. Complete step-by-step DIY instructions are included for both the electronics and the resin casting.

You can purchase the Hungry Scientist Handbook at booksellers including Amazon. Also visit their new web site,

11 thoughts on “The Hungry Scientist Handbook

  1. Those "smart" coasters are cool but what happens when those rechargeable batteries eventually fail? The coaster and all that’s in it gets thrown out? Seems like a waste to me.

    1. This is ridiculous. Every time we publish a project that runs on batteries, people complain to us that it’s a waste, and that we should have made it solar instead (even when that would be vastly inappropriate). And now that we publish a solar project that teaches people how to harvest sunlight instead, you decide complain about that.

      What do you expect us to say? Are we supposed to declare that because of our folly, we should vow that all of our future projects will use no materials except sustainably farmed twigs?

      Now– Please turn off your power-wasting computer and go outside– there are positive experiences to be had in life. Maybe you can find one.

      Windell H. Oskay

      1. You misunderstand me. I am not complaining about them using batteries. I am not bothered if they use solar power, battery power or any other type of power. My personal belief is that sealing the electronics in plastic so they can’t be accessed in the future is a (relative) waste. Yes, if it fails it still looks cool but I for one would like to get to it and fix it, or replace the batteries.

        And as for going outside and finding positive experiences, I’d love to but I have severe health problems that limit my ability to enjoy life.

        You have over reacted and misjudged me on lone comment.

    2. It’s still a fully functional coaster that still looks very cool – it just stops lighting up.

      If you "like" the comments here, you should see the ones people have made about the October Esquire E-ink cover.

  2. Windell, don’t let the detractors get you down. People are regrettably more motivated to contribute negative comments than positive.

    Your resin casting is gorgeous. I’m so jealous! Fantastic work!

    1. I agree, they do look great and they are a wonderful idea, I just thought adding some kind of opening but sealable base would have been good. It would add to the complexity but would make it better I feel.

      Just my opinion though and I can understand people thinking other wise.

  3. Guys i need a little help!

    I’m shopping to try this project but digikey has obsoleted the little transformer… Im a mech eng so i will defiantly mess it up if i try and choose another one myself. Could you please recommend a replacement part.

    Thanks again, oh and they are great i can’t wait to try it…. no only if i could get some liquid
    for the ice cream…

  4. Some craft stores carry clear coasters (for cross-stitch projects) with removable backs. Perhaps these would make an appropriately reusable project enclosure?

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