This year, no matter how many flower shops, red and pink lights, cupid stickers, heart-shaped cupcakes, and jewelry commercials are obnoxiously on display, there will inevitably be one person who shall forget Valentine’s Day is on February 14. This is why we’re giving you this heads-up for the geekiest, most scientific V-Day present ever for the nerdy lover in your life. Even if you despise the concept of Valentine’s Day, there’s no denying this is a really cool piece of work.
The Aerogel Heart is every bit as symbolic as love: Delicate, beautiful, fragile, but do it right and you’ll feel as if you’re floating in clouds. Aerogel is one of the lightest solid materials to exist, and it is usually found in a transparent form. NASA also uses aerogel in the Stardust space probe to collect cosmic dust samples from the comet Wild 2.
To create the purple-pink hue, an “optically active” material gets embedded at the nano level underneath the silica. However, it’s not just a matter of injecting some tone; One small sample of aerogel has the same surface area as half a football field, which means an entire aerogel heart measuring 3.5 cm (a little more than an inch) requires a lot of color embedding. When complete, the 3D aerogel heart is approximately 96 percent air by volume, so even though you’re holding and seeing the sculpture in your hand, your brain will trick you into thinking you’re not feeling any weight. It’s a complex and unique gift for those who want to impress with more than just a bouquet of red roses.
The tiny little heart will cost you $75 a pop. Not too bad considering a dinner date for two in New York will probably run you more than $100 (assuming you have reservations… don’t you?), and artisan chocolates and maracons may just rival the same price tag. Plus, for that $75 aerogel investment, you’ll offer your sweetie six pages of safety data information. Isn’t science romantic?