Curious Minds is an online science shop featuring a wide range of Science, Nature, Space, & Technology products, toys, kits, and gifts vetted for scientific integrity by our helpful & friendly ex-NASA/HST staff. We have chemistry sets, electronics kits, glass prisms, gyroscopes, home planetariums, Newton's cradles, orreries, praxinoscopes, solar radiometers, solar system models & mobiles, triops, & much more • When you talk to or email us, you don't get someone who doesn't know or care. We return your calls. We make sure you get the best service we can offer. We go the extra light year for you!
"An excellent site with all sorts of educational science toys available" ♦ "Never before has there been a more scientifically astute toy store. Science has never been so fun." ♦ "Full-spectrum science for everyone, from amateur biologists to young zoologists" ♦ "Not only are the toys really excellent quality, fun and educational, but the staff are really helpful and the service is top notch"
We started Curious Minds in a garden shed in 2004. Well, we kept the stock in there, and designed & managed the website from our house. We'd recently returned from the USA, and our original plan had been to buy a bookshop. We looked at many, but sadly none of them were financially viable. The we remembered the home schooling we'd done with our boys in the USA, and realised that buying science kits there was easier than here. We resolved to create an online science shop to fill the gap in the market.
We started out using a hosted solution but soon found it was too limiting, and the user support was terrible. So, as former programmers (most notably, for the Hubble Space Telescope, which brought us together) we decided to use open source software. We do all our own web design, programming, SEO, ad campaign design and management, product photography, etc. We even build our own computers and run Linux. Why pay for M$ Window$?
We select our products very carefully, paying close attention to the scientific details. For example, we have tested many different brands of toy orrery (motorised solar system models) and found that in half of them the planets orbit the wrong way (should be anti-clockwise as seen from North). If we find errors we let the supplier or manufacturer know. If they won't fix it, we won't stock it.
We hope that you will be totally satisfied with the quality of our products. If you aren't - please let us know! We are always keen to ensure that our products and service are the best they can be!
We're proud to have supplied products to:
- The Science Museum
- Museum of the History of Science
- The Cavendish Laboratory
- The Movieum
- University of St Andrews
We'd like you to feel as comfortable in our online shop as you would in a physical shop, and to know that we not only know our products, but also the subjects they are concerned with - be it science, technology, or nature. If you want to know if a product is suitable for a certain age, or for learning about some subject, or is very entertaining - don't hesitate! Call us on 01981 252 962, email us (info[at]curiousminds.co.uk), or send us a letter (address follows) - whatever you're comfortable with! If you have a science or technical question, ask for Alan; for anything else, ask for Lucy.
Unit 2, Dene Industrial Park
Telephone number . 01981 252 962
We have an extensive background in scientific computing, and we (Alan and Lucy) met in 1988 while developing archival software for the Hubble Space Telescope. Alan was at the Space Telescope Coordinating Facility in Germany, Lucy was at the Space Telescope Science Institute in the USA.
Alan Richmond was a software developer for several international scientific research institutes & projects, e.g. the Hubble Space Telescope. He started building web sites from almost the beginning of the web, in 1993 for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (near Washington, DC). He founded the Web Developer's Virtual Library, the web's first commercial web site for web developers. He founded EncycloZine, the web's first XHTML site, in November 1998. Alan has also worked on nuclear fusion and fission devices and a synchrotron (a powerful X-ray research machine). Alan has also been a science teacher, and home educated his sons in science.
Lucy Richmond has a BA in English from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, and an MBA in Management from Georgia State University, in Atlanta, Georgia. Her first job was as a Technical Editor but she quickly got into computer programming and has over 12 years of programming experience. Before starting her family, she was first a Database Specialist and later the STSDAS Software Systems Administrator for The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.